I’ve realised that I pretend a lot.

I say sticks and stones and all that, I pretend that I don’t care what other people think. But I do.

I get so self-conscious with it sometimes. If I’ve done something stupid or I’ve tried a new look that I’m doubting and then I hear people behind me laughing, I think they’re laughing at me. Even in the moment I rationalise and say that they’re not, that I’m being silly, but they might be, what do I know? The point is I care. I care what complete strangers think about me. I shouldn’t, but I do.

I’m different, I know that, everyone is, but what I mean is I don’t generally fit in. And that’s fine. Or is me saying that just another pretence?

Back in freshers I went out with my flat mates and we went to a club, it was my first time clubbing. And I didn’t like it. I felt uncomfortable and unsafe and just out of place. I spent the taxi ride home crying. I kept asking myself why can’t you just be normal?! And I know that normal is stupid, that normal doesn’t even exist, but the norm does, the norm of uni students does; and I don’t fit it. And most days I don’t have to pretend when I say that’s fine, but others I really am just lying to myself.

I pretend that I’m happy even when I’m not. That’s not to say that I’m miserable but I can’t say I’m happy. I’m in a state of existence. And even typing this I feel stupid and ungrateful because how amazing is my life?! I have enough money to live, enough intelligence to go to university, a family that loves and supports me, I live in a country that isn’t run by a dictatorship or ravaged by war. Me saying I’m unhappy is just ungrateful and selfish and a bunch of other bad things. But it’s still true. And I hate myself for it.

I didn’t mean to get all dark and gloomy, I was just trying to get to sleep and my mind just ran away from me.

I could hear my flat mates in the corridor talking about me, or at least someone with my name and my paranoia kicked in. I instantly assumed that they were saying negative things, even though I couldn’t hear them and we get along well enough. And beyond that I grew worried that they might knock on my door and call my name as they have done before, asking me to join them. And I hate myself for all the times when I’ve pretended to be asleep or not here, just to avoid socialising. Then I pretend that it’s ok, that I’m allowed to feel that way, even as I know it’s not really ok, that I need to make an effort, because if I’m ever going to make it in the ‘real world’ after uni I need to stop pretending and just start living.



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