Written by Precious Nwosu
I loved you. Wait….did I just say it out loud in a public place where I shouldn’t be expressing my emotions? This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you though. I mean, I was the first person to profess love. So, I really can’t help myself; I’m a softie. A softie whose face boldly reflects the feelings of the heart. Yes, I couldn’t disguise my feelings, and I suppose that’s why you kept doing what you were doing since you knew how I felt. My passionate gaze, smiles, tears, confessions, glints, and thrill when our lips met didn’t go unnoticed; you understood just how I felt about you. You knew you could continue to hurt me, tear my heart into multiple pieces, and everything would be fine because, hey, I like you, so I had to swallow all your bullshit; you know, forgive your excesses right? It is just the way of things. What you didn’t know was that I deserve to receive as much as I give. That I wasn’t allergic to the love I showered on people. That I could heal and be whole again. That I could wake up in the morning and not look at the space on the bed which once upon a time was where you belonged and wish you were there, that I could go to the supermarket and get another perfume that wasn’t the type you wore, that I could move on fine. Surprise. I had it in me, to move on.
Softie; I think the word in the dictionary is soft. But I want to go with it – softie. There are two definitions for this word; mine and those of others. If you ask certain people what this word means, they would probably say weak, sentimental, gullible, and loves easily. They are correct, but I don’t mean in the sense that being an open book makes one weak. They are correct since softies love easily. Softies are people who show joy and pain, and who pour out love unconditionally to whoever they choose. Softies are those that display both joy and sorrow and lavish affection on anyone they choose, without conditions. Far from being weak or naive, softies are powerful because only a strong person chooses to let people in, open the deepest part of their heart, and let others into their lives despite knowing the dangers; heartbreak and betrayal.
As a child, I’ve always been the type to wear my emotions on my face; I talk when I’m in an uncomfortable situation regardless of the location. And I was under the impression that this was normal. I mean, isn’t that how it ought to be?
However, as I grew older and related to more people, I discovered that not everyone shared, and respected this perspective. Most want to be seen and called strong, and when others behave opposite, they are termed “unstable” and “fragile”.
On several occasions, when I voice displeasure over something or break into an outburst when in excruciating pain, I have been told that I need to grow up.
As a result, I made an effort to follow this rule: refrain from being an open book, stop wearing my heart on my sleeve, and hide my emotions. However, no matter how hard I tried to stifle it, tried to suppress and conceal it, it still managed to let loose. It was exhausting and draining. I felt choked, felt like a lie. Keeping my guard up at all times while looking over my shoulders was burdensome. Why won’t I show displeasure over things that irritated me, why won’t I be positive, optimistic, and excited over a love interest? And is vulnerability not part of our reality as human beings?
Over time, I began to feel as though I was odd and that there was something wrong with me. Why do I always weep during arguments? Why do I become so sentimental when seeing a movie? Why do I trust effortlessly, and why do I apologize just because I feel uneasy even though I wasn’t the offender? Why not try to shove it down my throat? I mean, my friends weren’t like this. They weren’t that accessible.
I recall being taken to the hospital as a result of a scorpion bite, and because of the pain I was in, I cried. The nurse who attended to me told me to “act grown up”. Amidst my irritation, I said, “What does growing up have to do with pain?” Crying might not alleviate the pain, but it was a method for me to express how I felt at the time. But still, it gave me sleepless nights and got me thinking if this was a defect.
So, I have spent years running away from this, rejecting this part of me, but try as one may one cannot run from one’s self. So, I have embraced this me. I trust easily, cry when reciting an expressive poem, weep when the hero in a novel dies and does not have a happy ending and that’s fine with me.
So yeah, you knew the vulnerable me but didn’t know the strong me that could still move on fine after I saw you lock-lips with the lady you introduced as your female cousin, but didn’t know which of your parent’s sides she came from, that resulted in our break up. You must have made a mockery of me with her on how unguarded I was with you.
However, this won’t break me and won’t stop me from feeling whatever it is deeply. And perhaps, because of this, I would still face challenges and rejections, would always be scorned for being so open, being so accessible, but I don’t want this part of me to fade. I don’t want to place a lid on these emotions because I love and I am grateful for every part of me, as this has made me feel empathy for others, understand their pains, and connect with them better.
I still can’t get a kick out of my favorite songs without thinking of you as memories of us singing them together always cloud my mind, but I will do it. One day at a time, a step at a time. Yes, because this softie here knows how to pull herself together.