I held a beer can and a cigarette dangled from my lips. A hundred eyes pried, passing me by.
Wait, what was I doing?
I hate beer, have always. And a cigarette, please! I couldn’t even light it until a stranger came to my rescue with a rueful smile. When I went to buy beer, the shopkeeper packed it in a brown bag, covering his surprise and my embarrassment at one go.
But I was on a trip that night. I wanted to break my own barriers. Funny, how drinks always come in handy when someone wants to break shackles, patterns, relationships, bank savings etc.
It was late by normal standards, almost midnight, with a switched off phone in my pocket and an absolutely short-circuited brain. I felt defeated and angry and I was hurting.
And I was tired of keeping up the façade that I was strong and independent and a go- getter. I wanted to wail and be pitied on. I wanted to harm myself. And yet I wanted to be rescued.
Myself. The demon that did not let me be. The monster that kept gnawing on my soul. The devil that pounded about my worthlessness in my ears.
The night got a bit nippy and I shifted under a bus stand shade. I was still far from my home. A man, salt and peppered, holding a naked beer bottle in hand (no brown bag to cover up his dignity) came staggering towards me. I stiffened. Natural reaction.
As he approached me, I looked into his eyes, almost shooting darts. He quietly sat, leaving a few seats between us. Poor sod, just needed to comfort his wobbly legs. He mumbled something that I couldn’t decipher.
“You need to get easy on yourself. Look at you child.”
I gave a nervous laugh.
“No one is YOU, and that’s your strength.”
I did not change overnight and of course I had a tough time reaching home. I don’t even know if that man was talking to me or was just giving a pep talk to himself.
But I cut myself some slack. I released the demon that stopped me from being irrational. I shoved the monster down in the depths of darkness that it can never come out of. Hopefully Pennywise will take care of the rest. And I fight my devil to let me stay alive. Because from that night onwards, I say one thing to myself daily…
I love you and no one is YOU.