Please excuse the fragmented state and awkwardness of this post.
Its December 2008. Despite having a complete lack of confidence due to the state of my skin at the time, my friends had convinced me that my ego required alcohol and music. Honestly, leaving the safety net of my bedroom was the last thing that I wanted to do. I knew that I needed this, though. In a matter of minutes I had transformed my view of this night from being completely frightful, to being the most important night of my life. I'm aware how drastic this sounds, however, when your mindset is, not set at all, your general response to ANY given situation could be unpredictable. As was mine.
Nobody knows just how long I spent on self grooming that night. In hindsight I was ready to go after around 45 minutes. That was transformed into hours when I saw my own reflection in the mirror, no, the devil. A mirror is simply a sheet of reflective glass that mirrors whatever stands in front of it, thus the name...What I was looking at made me vomit. I knew how I looked, and this wasn't how I envisaged myself. Who the hell was looking back at me? This had to be the work of the devil, and if it was indeed his handy work he had me down to a T.
The guy staring back at me looked as heartbroken as I was.
I straightened my hair numerous times, at least 6. I changed my outfit more times that I can even remember. I brushed my teeth so many times that I must have lost at least one layer of enamel. Anything that I could do to take the attention away from my face I would have done. Obviously my face is my face and hiding it was a battle lost before it had even began. Gingerly, I ventured out.
I arrived at the flat rather late, owing to my obsession with the mirror. In my haste to leave the house I had forgotten to take a manly beer drink and so had to make do with wine. Not the end of the world and, anyway, wine sends me to the land of wobbly legs a lot quicker than any other beverage.
The second the door was opened my heart sank. I was starring at a room full of an awful lot of people. What made it worse was the fact that I didn't know most of them. Oh the confliction that passed through my mind at that moment. Do I leave? I desperately want to leave! Am I willing to fail? I'm already here now I can't just go.
In the end my privilege to choose was taken away as I was ushered inside.
One thing that I find amazing is how you can categorically convince yourself that everyone in a room is collectively starring straight at you because of your own insecurities. Truthfully everyone that I hadn't had the pleasure of meeting were starring straight through me like I'd never even arrived and that suited me perfectly.
A sense of freedom came over me. There I was having fun with some of my best friends in the world. Would I dare feel it? I did... I felt comfortable.
For around an hour I sat with huge smile cutting a gaping hole in my face. Everyone, myself included, was a little inebriated. When the alcohol kicks in there will always be (and there indeed was) one person who wants to be a little ambitious. So it was suggested that we all played a game. Me, my friends and everyone who I had hoped I would stay invisible to.
Exactly what game we played that night evades my memory. It involved us all sitting in a circle and giving a brief profile, if you will, of who we were. Luckily I was the first person to go, so I didn't have to wait. I'm not sure if I would've handled the pressure of waiting my turn. Surprisingly, it went rather well. A few jokes were made by myself, and few at my expense. But all in all I felt liked.
Along comes Ruth, by no means am I referring to my friend Ruth. This...person was nothing but my friend. This person will never be my friend.
Initially I found Ruth to be witty and humorous, we even exchanged a few jokes and shared in some banter, which resulted in an attempt, on her part, to chase me around the flat. I clearly managed to handle my frame with much more ease as I managed to bolt for the bedroom before she could even move. I shut the door and put a doorstop under it. I had escaped, thank God!
Or had I escaped?
Ruth (I hate that her name is Ruth because my Ruth is an angel) seemed to take exception to the inoperable door that I had placed in front of her. She proceeded to kick it a few times in vein.
Then she said the words.
"You're just a spotty twat."
And that was it.
I was thinking it, my mirror was definitely thinking it and everyone else was clearly thinking it.
Was my mirror the devil? No. Ruth was, and if she wasn't, she was certainly doing his dirty work. I didn't know this person and yet she felt empowered enough to say those words to me. Words that echo around the caves, that were once filled with my confidence, ever since.
To this day that moment still defines who I am. I had a choice. If I so wanted I could have retaliated to those words; believe me I wanted to retaliate. There was a time when I would have done so before she had even opened her trap. I credit myself with enough creativity to utilise one of her characteristics in a hurtful way. But I didn't want to hurt her. Instead I removed the door stop, left the flat and walked home, back to my safety net.
Usually that is where I can still be found. Wrapped up nicely in my safety net; hiding in my bedroom where the only person who can hurt me is myself. That has been the case for too long now.
Ruth won't even know what she did to me that night. Being the character that she was I have my doubts as to whether she would care if she did know. Perhaps old Uncle Karma should pay her a visit instead of sitting at my doorstep?
At no point did I feel hatred towards her even though many would. Every ounce of hatred that I had was directed towards myself. Please bare in mind that this was 2008. I am in a different place now. I am learning to love myself a little more all the time (and I don't mean with my right hand).
The realisation that I should have probably hated her, even if just a little, has reached me far too late. I have decided that I most certainly do not have the effort available validate her, Ruth, The Devil, with hatred when I need to focus on repairing the damage that she has done because she's kept me awake almost every single night since.
And so I forgive the devil and move on.