“Be tough,” they’d say in their most scornful of talks. They think they know how everything works. How when you’re battling an invisible war, they can see right through it. How when you can barely open your eyes, they expect you to be wide awake. They smile and smirk and you hear the ring of two glass cups joyfully at meet. They’re okay and they expect you to be just fine. To be tough. To be resilient. To fight with your dimples and teeth exhibited to the crowd. “Be tough.” But they haven’t met the enemy. They haven’t slept a day with the weight of thoughts drowning them in their sleep. They haven’t taken a ride in the arteries of a person fighting anxiety. They haven’t. They haven’t. They haven’t. But they think you should be tough. They think you should be okay. They think you should move on. They think they know what you deserve. Hush. They reckon you are accustomed to what true quietness is, to what hearing the hums and jiggle of morning birds without a precedent insomnia of suffocating monologues is. They reckon they know you. When you don’t even know yourself.
And suddenly, before you are aware of it, you blend into the wallpaper that is their sad and empty life. You are the blue of the sea, the red of the sun, the black of the night and the white of the moon. You are no longer your own colour. You are no longer the waves of the sea, the flames of the sun, the mist of the night and the light of the moon. You are their petty words. You are “being tough”.