eight » the club

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  • Dedicated to lily and beth

“My eyelids are heavy, but my thoughts are heavier.” – c.o

Ever since I was a young kid, I was told I was emotional for a boy. At such a young age, I had no clue how my gender had anything to do with how I felt about my mum having to ‘pretty herself up’ every morning. I thought she was fine just the way she was and I told her as such. However it was only as I grew older, that I learned how society expected me to act. Unaffected, stoic, composed, unemotional. I was a boy, and therefore I was not allowed to feel. I was not allowed to use emotive language to express myself in English. I was not allowed to describe how I saw a girl if I used the words pretty, perfect, fabulous, radiant, beaming, glorified, stunning. I had to use words like hot, sexy, and curvy, fine, cute, smoking, and awesome.

It was only as I left high school, that I realised how I didn’t have to fall into this stereotype. However it was a little too late, society had influenced my behaviour, I second guessed showing my emotions, and I cursed myself for giving away when I was attracted to someone. I wouldn’t cry in front of anyone, and built this body image to hide away in. There was only so much I could do to let myself know that I could show emotion, I didn’t have to be this impassive mass-bred follower, I could be who I was and not feel bad about it.

I could feel and not be ridiculed. It helped that I didn’t have any friends that would tease me, it helped that no one really knew who I was. Yet in another way, it would’ve been nice to have that one person to remind you that you weren’t a sob story that just because you weren’t like anyone else, it didn’t mean you were any less human. For me that should’ve been Georgia, but she was always too busy to see me at my worst. In the mornings in which I turned to face my mirror, it would’ve been nice to have someone to remind me that I didn’t have to be the bags under my eyes, I could instead by the beating of my heart. The reminder that I still went on even if I was so exhausted all I wanted to do was collapse.

But that night I went to ‘JumpRs’ with Emily and her friends, I knew she had always had those people around her. What I never realised was that sometimes people weren’t enough. Because you always had to be there for yourself, before anyone else could even try. There had to be a meta-physical being standing behind your physical body, a subconscious behind your conscious and a net behind your falling body. Without those things it was almost impossible to pick yourself up again. Broken bones and broken souls weren’t mended easily, they were intricate and complicated, Emily’s more so than most.

And that night, I realised she didn’t have that safety net, and she knew it. She didn’t have that self that would catch her when she fell, because all her friends, as nice as they were, were so engaged in their own lives to even notice something was wrong with hers and she didn’t trust herself enough. They couldn’t see that she was crying out a silent plea for help, they couldn’t hear her, so they ultimately couldn’t save her.

I had to be the person to show her how to trust herself. Someone who was so focused on the fact that nothing was going on in his own life that he focused on a girl who had been overrated all her life. She was expected to keep going, because that was who she seemed to be, but if I had learned anything about Emily in the few days I had known her, was that she was full of surprises and you couldn’t just slot her into a category. She was constantly changing and moving, and you couldn’t make her stay static when all she wanted to do was grow.

I remember the way she walked into the club, face almost white under the harsh lighting while she sported a grin just about as fake as a Barbie doll. While her friends barely looked at her, all wrapped in their own little bliss, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Emily was subdued and I was concerned what was happening had something to do with what had occurred at the fair just the other day. Only if she fell apart in here, regardless of the cause, she wouldn’t be as safe. There would be men and even the occasional woman, all over her helpless self.

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