"You look lovely ,but so terribly bored with everything"
I don't know why I remembered the words today as I sat in class, my chin digging into the heel of my palm as I tried to counter the automatic severity of my resting facial expression. I don't know how I look at times where I feel I am mechanical, each faculty deliberate but poorly controlled like a faulty, awkward marionette. I think of what I could be were I not encumbered by the briar of my own self loathing. I twirl my pen in my hand, pondering matters of self perception instead of the Roman Empire like I should have been, thinking of what it would be like were I one of those people that hated themselves but had the competency to mask it. If only I weren't so phobic that I startled at accidental eye contact, so achingly perceptive in the face of perception. Maybe the issue is not that I notice, but that I mind noticing. Superficial glibness was never something I had mastered, I am a lighthouse with a broken beacon.
Earlier I had occupied one of the benches bracketing the main walkway on campus, the air was pleasant but it did little to rouse my spirits aside from providing the darkly romantic backdrop of autumn to my brooding. My expression must have been sour as I'd procured a few looks, but I had hardly noticed at first, too taken by my own private grievances. I tried to romanticize my baseline of melancholy. Such a deep and terrible sadness has a way of shading the world in its own strange way, one learns to appreciate monochrome. Perhaps it is something I must accept so I no longer feel acutely aware of the passage of time accompanied by the sense I am squandering my youth in my unshakable preoccupation with misery. Our affair is torrid, and it provides me with no greater comfort than that of familiarity, not even that of company or the illusion of it. It is the familiarity I imagine the grave offers the deceased; there is comfort in knowing where you lay. Despite it's consistency, I cannot even personify my misery into an archetypal or phantasmic companion, there is no shape conjured by the subconscious that haunts me. The void does not speak back.
I thought of what would have transpired had I succeeded in birthing a presence within my own mind, if it were able to do what I could not, what I was not brave enough to do. I thought of my eyes changing once I had the confidence to pretend I was someone I'm not, something out of a 90s horror movie, the stuff of alter egos and specters of the psyche. I wished there were sides to myself aside from hidden softness, my armor is so fortified yet ineffective to the point of becoming a metaphysical Iron Maiden.
Later, I got coffee. The barista was pleasant, a spry young girl with ginger hair that matched her disposition. I only noticed later on what she had written on my cup. "you are loved!" Whether she had been compelled by my disposition or serendipitously inclined to do so did not matter, it spoke to me of the web of synchronicity and humanity. As cliched and polished the sentiment "Be kind! you never know what someone is going through" is, such a simple act touched me in a place I found raw today.
I am not the rebellious and prickly youth I was; I cannot deny that I fall deeply in love with every stranger with a tragedy etched face, or the glimpses I get in fleeting smiles or mundane interactions, even if it fleshens my prone heart to their sharp eyes.