By Melissa Chiyanike
“Damn! She has such a huge forehead.”
“Too much makeup! It’s definitely a no for me.”
“That dress would have looked so much better if she was a bit lighter.”
0200 hrs; I was still perusing up and down the comments section and each time I picked another reason to hate myself. Drops of tears converged at the edges of my eyes and two lateral streams spilled over to the fluffy white pillow which was already drenched and highlighted by a black tie and dye theme that was being created my cheap eyeliner. Time and again I would sweep away a tear and check the likes and comments on the selfie I had uploaded on Instagram. My attention lingered on the negative remarks that trickled through with the rest of the feedback. Opinions from my social media followers were at this point my life’s instruction guide. The more likes I had, the more highly people thought of me, the more value I had in life. At least that is what I believed.
Validation was what I sought from Instagram. I had to flourish at this social media game; outside it my life was just another trash bag. I had over the years been made to believe I was nothing short of a huge pile of average and each day I fervently toiled to prove I was worth something. I was convinced that no-one loved me and so I did everything I could to try and fit in somewhere. I hustled to get clothes which I could barely afford, dated older guys just so I could get pay outs, invested a lot of effort in hanging around the rich kids to whom I was basically invisible. Maybe just maybe, someday, someone would eventually notice me.
Like a fresh picked lemon from the fruit section of an elite grocery shop; I was so bright and appetizing on the outside but the bitterness I harboured within was unmatched. I felt a certain level of voidness and numbness within myself. I was tired of feeling worthless, all I wanted was for at least one person to accept me for who I was. Unfortunately, no one else could see beyond my integument. All the world’s focus was on the appearance I tried to maintain. Beyond the mascara, Brazilian weaves and fake Gucci clothes, they saw nothing else. The little girl who was crying out for a little affection was insignificant to them.
I was at varsity and surrounded by thousands of people with a myriad of personalities yet still I felt alone. I could not point out to anyone who was exactly my real friend. In a world where everyone was busy working on their own lives, it seemed there was no hope for a girl like me. The likes on my Instagram posts were my only source of happiness but it was all shallow and short lived. I was too absorbed in trying to cover up the emptiness that consumed me. My captions reflected a lot of joy and contentment but deep inside, it was the exact opposite. I was simply a sad girl with happy pictures.
Each day I was sinking deeper and deeper into an unending dark hole of self-criticism and loneliness. My mind dwelt on how I was good for nothing. I needed an outlet, someone to talk to, someone who understood but who? I looked at the world around me and I saw where a bunch of people who had a lot of expectations and standards for me to live up to. I was far from the person my parents had wanted me to be. I was nothing close to the person I wished to be. Nineteen years of roaming about the earth and still I had no memory of a proud moment in my life. I would have been stupid to ignore it; I had nothing and no one. I was nothing.
Slowly I lost interest in trying to get love and attention. My Instagram captions began to transition. More and more I focussed on how life was meaningless and void. I became so convinced that my placement on earth had been an accident. I had tried everything but still I felt I was not enough. Each day, sadness crept beside me and I was getting tired. The thought of death and that it was my only ticket away from the miseries of life did not leave my mind. I became exceedingly eager to talk about death and how I could not wait for it. I was so keen to find out how random people would react if I died. To some I was merely being creepy and some simply labelled me an attention seeker.
One thing for sure was I would have wanted to live life differently. I believed each breath was another chance for me to work on my life. Regardless of the drive to be better, I had no idea where to start. I felt clueless and powerless. All my life no-one had ever stood on my team and just like everyone else I gave up on myself. My mind was constantly racing through the hurdles I faced and day by day the tightness in my chest intensified. “I can’t breathe!” my spirit was crying out.
Whiskey, marijuana, BronCleer, and crystal meth made it to the list of my attempts at escaping the pathetic reality of my life. All I would get was a quick high and each morning I would wake up in a pool of my negative thoughts. It seemed I had exhausted every option and only one remained. I had to do what had to be done.
All I needed was a tiny razor blade and on the little wooden desk in my hostel room, I slit my wrist. “I am sorry mom,” that is all that rested on my supposedly suicide note. I stared at the stream of my blood flowing away and staining the little note I had left. I felt myself drifting away and gradually my gaze diminished. By each second, everything became quieter and calmer. From a distance, I could hear distorted footsteps approaching and soon enough the door was opened and followed by screams. “Somebody, get help!”, a fading voice called out. I closed my eyes and listened to my heartbeat. I had expected to enter a phase of inner peace but now all I felt was the nervousness that engulfed me. Was I really ready to die?