Les Chambres du petit garçon (2015) by Maximilian

I lived my High School life being a shy person. I never liked attention because, for me, it meant being criticised. I’m afraid of being judged — for who I am, what I do, and my life choices. I enjoy being alone and writing about it. The day I started feeling lonely was the day I started writing. Writing makes me feel like someone understands me, and it comforts me.

I was surrounded by people with so much judgment in them, and it felt like a jail to me. Every move I’d make, I felt like I was judged. My parents’ first and most important rule is for us to study first. Therefore, no boys, no distractions, no parties, etc. Every time I would try to be girly, they would always think that I’m dating someone.

Every time I smiled at a boy, even if he’s just a friend, they would ask if he’s my boyfriend. That’s why I distanced myself from being friendly with them; I stopped dressing myself up to feel like a girl. I never enjoyed it. I know the rules, yes, I respected it — but they would always mock me about it, and it felt like I had no freedom to do anything. I felt like I could never pursue what I loved doing.

I have a friend; I went to her house to fetch her because she had a date, and she wanted me to tag along so that her parents won’t notice. I wore shorts and a simple shirt. I sat on their couch, waiting for her. Her dad asked me, with eyes and a smile full of judgment – “What are you wearing? Don’t you study? Are you just dating someone?”.

I was shocked, particularly because he was unaware that it was his daughter who was the one who secretly has a boyfriend. I hate it when they judge you by what you wear and your outward appearance.

I never showed my interest because it doesn’t matter anyway.

Entering college life, my parents were away a lot. They worked abroad. It felt like I was free. During that time, I enjoyed having friends, eating together, laughing, going to a park, and playing. I never neglected my studies, but I failed my major subject. I studied, but it was hard for me to do a subject that I don’t love.

In summer, my parents visited us for a vacation. I was asleep, but I heard they were talking about me - “No one in the family is dumb, where did she get it from?”. I hate it when they compare me to my cousins, who are excellent in their studies.

So they decided to enrol me in another school. I changed my course. This time, I enrolled on what I wanted. I got high grades and awards. I met many people. I had friends there, but they are just like others. If I’m not with them, they would talk about me. If someone is not with us, they would talk about them. I don’t like this kind of friendship. I want genuine. I distanced myself from them and decided to continue life without them.

All my life, I feared being judged and being talked about. I never liked to be known and be praised, then later have someone talk about you. I never liked the attention. I want to live my life doing what I love.

Then, I met some people; with different stories and different perspectives in life. I witnessed their struggles and their willingness to achieve their goals. I realized I can also do it. I started loving myself. I eliminated toxic people in my life.

I started doing things I’ve always wanted to without worrying about others. I started exploring all the possible things I’m capable of. I loved it. I’m starting to believe that I don’t need the opinion of others. I’m living my life now with no regrets. Thanks to the people who are willing to support me.

I learned not to let critics define who you are, and instead prove that you’re more than that. Don’t be afraid to start now, because you’ll never know what you’re capable of achieving. Don’t be afraid to stumble, because it only means you’re fighting for your dreams. Surround yourself with people with good intentions. Don’t live your life with regrets.

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