You are not I.

My neighbors give me dirty looks – not the sexual kind. They stare at me with their distinct, stigmatizing expressions and I definitely feel the weight of their unfounded judgement on my shoulders. You would think, after more than a decade of being judged as someone that I am not, I would get used to it by now, but no.

I still feel the same feelings that I felt when I first noticed these things, as a much younger teenager. Granted, I’d made some mistakes and done things a certain way which I somewhat regret now, but I still feel judged unfairly. These gossip mongers gather and share speculation that result in other people’s suffering.

I hate it. It makes me feel like I have done terrible things and that I deserve these looks that they give. Sometimes, I feel like I do but more often than not I manage to convince myself that I don’t. The worse part of it all is the wondering. Wondering what I had really done to give off such an impression on people that they would stare at me like I’m the harbinger of doom. I just don’t understand.

Neither do people. People don’t understand. All my life, till present day, I am still being told that I ‘imagine’ these looks and it is ‘all in my head’. Who should I blame for allowing myself to grow up under these conditions, and as a result, granting me more awareness when it comes to people. I notice these things; their gestures and facial contortions no matter how subtle. It is a result of never being popular or the center of attention. I was always seated on the outside, looking in. I watch people and have been for a very, very long time now. It would not be unreasonable to say that I notice more than the average person, yet, it is admittedly understandable that the average person tells me that I am paranoid.

They do not feel the same feelings I feel. They do not know what goes on in my mind, much less fight the same battles I do. These internal struggles I face is the drive-chain of my thoughts and emotions. They do not understand because they have not heard the same story told before. Yet, the question begs, are we so arrogant to think that people cannot possibly feel a certain way since professionals or others have not defined it or coined a term for it? You don’t walk in my shoes and chances are, you have not led a life of constant unfair scrutitiny and judgement – spending your entire life feeling like you should be guilty for something, and you just cannot quite figure out what that something is.

All your life.

And they wonder why I hate people. Why I so strongly reject the use of public transportation and avoid crowded places. You would understand. In fact I don’t particularly enjoy leaving the house. I would might rather spend my days indoors, in the comfort of my home with a good film, book and a nice cup of Joe.

But that’s not what people think and so, the looks and the stares.


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