9, is how old I was
When I learnt the meaning of the word
And how to spell it too.

8, irrelevant
7, unworthy
6, unwanted

See, when other kids were afraid of
Darkness, monsters, clowns, canes…
I was afraid of words,
Words like those, because by the age of 8,
I had learnt to fluently communicate
With the voices, or should I call them monsters,
In my head.

They would tell the 8 year old me stories…
Stories about a little sad girl with no friends
Unworthy of everyone’s time.
A little sad girl who would either,
Not be noticed by anybody
Or would be noticed by everybody for all the
wrong reasons.
A little sad girl who sounded a lot like me.
So I asked the voices who the stories were
And they would chuckle and say,

By the age of 9,
The voices in my head
Seemed to have invaded everyone else’s
The kids, the kid’s parents, the kid’s parent’s
friends, the kid’s parent’s friend’s neighbours,
Saying that I was the fat girl with no friends
and bad skin
That I was the dumb girl who ironically wore
That I was the ugly sad girl, who never smiled.

Most assumed that it was because I had bad
Because most things weren’t going my way anyway
In fact, some had the audacity to tell me,
“Don’t worry, just smile,
We know it’s not your fault you have bad teeth.
Do however tell you parents to stop feeding
you sweets,
We don’t need you to be fatter or any less
9 is how old I was when the voices in my head
came alive and took human form.
When the monsters in my nightmares always
seemed to come from mouths…
The mouths would say,
“You are way too fat, there is no way of going
back, you need liposuction
“Nobody would look at you twice,
Not even with make-up.
You are way too unattractive,
Then from the words, the monsters would
And for some reason,
The monsters always seemed to have my face
9, is how old I was
When I started seeing myself as a monster.

Let’s just say that 10,11,12 till 20,
Hasn’t gone by easy
Battling with the voices in my head,
The voices around,
The voices around the voices around
And the words they say.

But on some days, I won.
On some days,
I convinced myself,
That my body was good enough to hold
That my smile could warm any heart
That my eyes could melt the snow off any
snow-capped mountain…
I convinced myself that I was a desert
With stretch marks the shape of sand dunes
So no, I didn’t need you to dust me off,
Or make me up
I reminded myself that when I was 8,
The voices in my head always said that the
stories were about a nobody,
I mean, nobody,
So I guess that means
That nobody believes them.

But on most days,
The voices in my head remind me that I am a
I mean, I am nobody.
And nobody, believes them.

By Becky Wairimu


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