Photo by Louise Lyshøj on Unsplash

By ABIGAIL CHIVIYA

Collapsing on my knees, I hunched over the toilet and felt all the contents of my stomach rushing out. I felt sick to my stomach and hated myself for chugging all that alcohol to the incessant chanting of my name, even more so for coming to this party. I found that I hated myself a lot lately, not only for my recent thoughtless actions, but the person I’d become.

My knee-length skirts had gotten just an inch shorter, my oversized t-shirts had become just a belly button shorter, my no’s had become just a few maybes. Yet in exchange my social status had become a whole lot higher, my lonely car rides to school had become a whole lot noisier and even my secret admirers list was a lot less secret. I mean it was only a few details I had to change, but now people accepted me, saved me a place at lunch even invited me out. So was becoming just a little bit of what the society wanted so wrong?

I was pulled out of my thoughts by the sound of heels clicking into the room. I felt my braids being pulled behind my neck and a soothing hand rubbed my back.

“You okay Ashy?” Ciara slightly slurred out whilst Macey and Joanne echoed the same.

There was that stupid nickname I hated. I preferred to be called by my full name, yet I let it slide, as usual, because ‘everyone’ loved nicknames. I knew this wasn’t me, but society loved ‘everyone’. Everyone always said be you, stay true to you, hashtag unapologetically you, yet that same society is the one that told you how ‘you’ is supposed to dress, what music ‘you’ is supposed to play, what filters ‘you’ are meant to to use. I spent most of my life being me and loved me, but the society didn’t want me. When I tweaked me and became this ‘you’, the society wanted me, yet I hated me. Did I really have to choose between individuality and social acceptance? Not so long ago this would’ve been the easiest choice, yet now I found myself rethinking the meaning of life hunched over a stranger’s toilet. How original.

Once my stomach ran out of food to banish, Macey drove me to her house, where I told my mom I would be spending the night. The girls tucked me in bed and returned to the Friday night festivities. Now alone in the dark house—her parents were working late—I had no one to keep me company, but me, not the ‘you’ everyone loved, just me. Macey had left me full access to her Netflix, ‘everyones’ dream, but I was always a book typ’a girl not that anyone knew. Macey owned none. Itching for a good book I wandered into her parents’ library. Upon switching on the light, a book on her father’s desk caught my eye. Less of the book itself, more of the title. Me vs Them.

ABIGAIL is a Lower Six (Form 5) girl who is cherishing her last 2 years in high school and discovering the details of her life that will shape her future. This piece really reminds her of how we’re constantly being forced to be something we’re not, not directly but by the little things. We suffer criticism and backlash when we stand up against things that we don’t approve of or do things that stand out. Yet they’re part of our character. So in trying to protect ourselves and needing love, we hide our individuality by pretending to be something we’re not. Yet we gain the world’s definition of normalcy. What a trade off.