Shut Up, Woman…

You talk too much! Really? Do I? What’s “too much,” in relation to talking anyway? Give me some context. Have I revealed something I shouldn’t have, or is it just that you’re tired of listening? People love to flap their own gums and tell others off for talking too much, but somehow it does not register with me AT ALL. I know not of this “too much.” If everyone waited to be spoken to before speaking, then surely no one would ever speak! Someone’s got to instigate. And I don’t mind being that someone, honestly, it’s cool. What do you want to talk about? Nothing? That’s alright, I can think of something.

Most of the time, the truth is, I talk a lot because I have an overwhelming need to explain myself. I feel so overwhelmed by that need because I want to be understood. Why do I want so tirelessly to be understood, you ask? Because torment rages and burns through my heart in every moment of misunderstanding. It rips apart my rib cage and sears through to my skin in a mighty blaze of agony that I’m barely able to contain. So…er…yeah, I talk to cool the blaze.

I do often think, though, that if I wasn’t so frequently subject to stupidness that warrants explanation, then things would be entirely different for me! I mean, I guess I first knew that I was destined for a slightly alternative life when I was a child at junior school. I was one of only a handful of black children in a predominantly white school, which wasn’t really something that I noticed or paid that much attention to, but the same can’t be said for the other kids. I wouldn’t say I was bullied or anything, but I did get called a lot of names. The most prominent of which were always food related. Like “burnt toast!” Near enough every day, I would get called burnt toast, but all I remember thinking was, “Mmmm, I really like toast! Nothing mean about that at all!” Then there was “burnt sausage.” My thoughts to that being, “man, sausages are awesome too, especially hot dogs! Although, I’m not sure why your food’s always burnt? Maybe white people like it like that and you’re really just being nice!?”

Kids, huh. Thinking about it now, it’s ridiculous, but hey, with that being as colourful as the language ever got, I didn’t have it so bad at all. In fact, I had a lot of friends! I always remember having other kids to play with. I am my mother’s youngest child, so I was little bit spoilt. Plus, I was rather cute, to boot! You know, I’d go as far as to say I had it pretty damn good. Maybe too good? Strutting around like the little cutie that I was. Maybe something had to change. How can life’s torment begin to decrease at such an early age? Where’s the strength of character to be found in that? So, as fate would have it, an illness took hold of me in my youth and bald headedness ensued. Yep. Bald headedness! I was bald! Little cutie soon became little bald headed not so cutie. Dammit!!

Now, I’m not sure if my forehead was always so big and the whole having hair thing covered it up, or if it was just the fact that being bald meant my forehead now didn’t end, but little cutie had a whopper of a forehead! Five-head! Fit-five-fingers-on-your-forehead-head, slap head, Bedford and Cliff, as it was affectionately named. (Cliff because a bird shat on it once. Yeah, cheers, bird!) And if that wasn’t enough to contend with, I had my growth spurt before all of my junior school peers, and soon became the tallest motherfucker in the whole darn school!! HOW LOVELY! And thus my lifetime of awkwardness began!

And I was AWKWARD, let me tell you! You know when you hit puberty at school and teenage boys start getting boners for teenage girls, who primp and fluff and don their make-up and overly spray their hair to go hang out at the ice rink and everyone’s so popular and cool that they start pairing off into kissing couples, but then all of a sudden, you realise you’re the last cool kid left and the only potential partner for you is the fat kid with elastic band braces – with two brackets missing from the front cos they bit into a toffee apple on bonfire night – sweating in the stands because they can’t make it round the rink without hyperventilating and having to be pushed off the ice with some kind of stick by a rink steward??? Well, HI, I’M SWEATY FAT KID!!! And the thing is, I didn’t care about hooking up with those stupid boys, I only went along cos I liked the hot dogs at the rink (always liked them hot dogs). And despite my trying to make it so blatantly clear that I’m not interested in that last kid any more than he is in me, I still had to suffer The Look every single time. The Look of utter distaste and repulsion. The Look that says, “don’t even think about it, you fat cow, you’d never stand a chance with me!” That damn Look that’s haunted me from my teenage years right up to adulthood. I should have clocked long ago that I’d fair better if I had uglier friends, but alas, I’m destined to be the awkward side kick that everyone’s happy to laugh with, but, hey, don’t get any ideas, tubby, no one’s checking for you like that!

Truth be told, those levels of meanness subside in later life and it might even be said that I’ve grown into my own look, but THE Look still rears its ugly head from time to time. Perhaps it’s with confidence that The Look disappears entirely – it seems I’m yet to find out. But now that I’ve shared these little nuggets from my childhood, when I talk and over explain and go on and on, without end, about my unrelenting awkwardness and the situations it brings forth, hopefully there will be some understanding as to how it all began.



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