Eighteen Years of Adolescence

She woke up sad that day. In the bathroom mirror, her eyes escaped themselves. Maybe they already knew what would happen up ahead. Maybe they could foresee the near future. She was afraid of facing herself. A splash of cold water to the face would dismiss the bad thoughts that were sprouting in her head. 

A pleasant song on the radio helped bring a special effect to briefly cover the reality that started to devour her day. She thought it was strange, because it wasn't a song that she openly liked―just the opposite. It had nothing to do with her self-proclaimed sophisticated musical taste. She also thought her hair color was strange, as if it made perfect sense until yesterday. Now, that blue hair lock, what was it doing there? She couldn't think of any explanation for the blue hair lock. How about the black nails; why did she choose that color? She rushed to get ready, but that feeling stayed with her.

Now, the clothes that until yesterday seemed so normal, so hers. Those black All-Star shoes, her printed socks... Her... Suddenly, she felt a sharp tinge of panic. For some reason she felt a sudden urge to look at her tattoos. The more she avoided them, the more her panic would increase. She knew that, if she looked, she would suddenly question each one of them. She was deeply afraid of being taken by an irrational need to tear them off her skin. And the panic would increase. Her emotions were unbalanced. Was it just a feeling or, suddenly, she didn't see a point in herself? 

A wave of awareness rushed to her brain, like a strong wind sweeping the dirt from a deserted road close to the port. Dirt, newspapers, references, appearances, everything got jumbled up, taken away, twisted around. She couldn't understand how, she didn't see why... Up until yesterday, she was so aware of everything she did, felt, and thought. Up until yesterday. Today, she awoke someone new.

She tried to think about other people, about her boyfriend, friends, co-workers. Once again, panic. She realized she was part of tribe. Actually, she realized they were so much like her, so similar, so well-identified, so emptily adept of the same ideas, the same perspectives, that she started feeling sick. 

With tears in her eyes, she thought about her boyfriend and the idea that came to mind was that they were two halves of a sliced-bread sandwich, but just the two slices rubbing against one another, without any filling. Even in that deluded moment, she noticed that the image forming in her head wasn't of a sandwich of nothing with nothing―between the bread slices there were traces of dust, hair, dirt from the floor...

She rushed to the toilet. And threw up. She bent forward until the only thing left to purge was the yellowish green bile, which was so concentrated that it splatted and dissolved like paint when it touched the water. She got up with difficulty and hurried back to bed. She started to think that her bedroom was ridiculous. The colors, the choices, the aesthetics of it. She started to count her tattoos in her mind, comparing them in a cruel analyzed manner to those of her friends. 

In tears, she realized that despite slight differences―rather conceptual ones―at least one other person she knew had the exact same tattoo or one that was really similar to hers. The same was true about her clothes, the places she used to go, her favorite bands. 

She reached for a cigarette on the bedside table. Panic set in again. She felt so stupid that she wanted to smoke, for doing an action that right there, right now, seemed so stupid. She got agitated upon thinking that, up until yesterday, smoking was an action surrounded by several meanings. She didn't know whether she should throw the crumbled pack of smokes out of the window, or rather to throw herself, for she felt as crumbled as the pack. She felt disgusted by cigarettes. She didn't get the urge to puke again, but the bad taste of bile was forcing its way back to her mouth. She couldn't see herself, but she knew that she probably had a horrible expression on her face.

She buried her head on the pillow and felt that her only options at the moment were to either discover who she really was pretty soon, or try to sleep and wake up again to everything back as they used to be. She was afraid of believing the lie of the latter option, because deep in her heart she knew that was a dead possibility, just like her illusion of that day. 

She realized that she had spent years feeling that it was cool to play the elegantly depressed part. That all her values came from a preconceived notion that she had bought from someone else some time during her teenage years. It wasn't good to think that she had spent over half her life acting as an echo of things that didn't even belong to her. 

And, at that liberating moment, that magic hour, for the first time in her life she had the exact notion of how unimportant she was. She was able to see herself not as the “different” person that she so proudly labeled herself as, but as a clone of several other people that she could say belonged to her “clic.” There, sitting in bed, feeling just like another branded cow with piercings covering her face, she knew what it really was to be truly depressed. And she didn't like that feeling. 

So, at the dawn of her thirties, she was birthed by life to see the light of this world, which her prolonged adolescence had contributed to turning into such a meaningless and senseless place.

ODEMILSON LOUZADA JR. is a graphic designer and has been in the Advertising and Communications industry since 2001.

As far as he can remember, he has always liked reading and writing prose. Poetry came a little later, due to one or two broken hearts.

For some years now, he has been trying to balance his work, routine chronicles, social networking, relationships, pop culture, books, movies, and music. He's yet to find out if he has achieved such balance, but he sure enjoys trying.

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