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“My Character” – Nayana Nair

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The crowd, every crowd-
they exhaust me
and frighten me.
They take away air around me
and tell me to leave myself at the door,
if I want to come in.
They like to stare a lot,
they like to condition my mind, my eyes to look away when they stare.
Is this the point
where I am supposed to sit down with a sigh
and tell a sad story-
about how I was wronged (isn’t everyone?),
how they never apologized,
how there was nothing to apologize for,
how people find it easier to support the one in wrong,
how it is easier to hate myself that to hate so many people.
The most painful but convenient words that I can tell myself-
“maybe they were right” “i took it too personally”.
How the result of telling someone all this
are more words like these-
“you are not the only one, it happens, it is normal”
“don’t make a big deal of it”.
Is there any end to what one must hear and suffer
just to give an explanation that people want so badly to hear
and are more desperate to brush off as weakness of my own character.

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