Masked By Kohl-Lined Eyes

Happy. Extrovert. Impulsive. Passionate. Joyful.
Some of the adjectives that people would use to describe me. Sometimes, I truly feel like I’m wearing a mask. Because this is me yet, this is not me.

I am masked for a reason. Just like every other person, I have a past. It’s a past I am not proud of. Not for something that I have done and regret – oh no. Far from it. It’s more like a past where there’s a villain and he’s the reason I am afraid of my past.

Do I sound too melodramatic? I apologise.

Sometimes my past catches up with me. When that happens, I see nightmares. I am normally a wonderful sleeper – I sometimes sleep in the same position throughout the night. I am a deep sleeper – nothing wakes me up. If I do wake up, the situation has got to be awful – a bad headache, a bellyache or maybe a horrifying nightmare. Unfortunately for me, though headaches and bellyaches may wake me up, nightmares tend to keep me sleeping. People who sleep next to me (as of now, my parents) think I am sleeping well. But the truth is far from it. I see horrifying, scary, ugly nightmares and can’t wake up. When I finally wake up to my phone’s alarm screaming into my ear, I am far too exhausted to say that I did sleep well. But it’s impossible for me to explain this to others. I don’t know what to say. So I don’t say.

It had begun to show – my lack of sleep. I didn’t want friends and family to be suspicious. My well-hidden past had to remain hidden. In a desperate attempt at glamourising my tired eyes, I lined them with kohl using the pretty kohl-pencil I have. The first few days, it was just a fine line. As the days passed, I realised that my eyes were always heavily lined with kohl. Others began to realise too. Luckily for me, they decided that it was a girl-phase and they were probably glad because I tend not to behave like a girl.

I have a best friend, a very close one, in another country. Only with him I could remove my kohl-lined mask and be myself. He didn’t like what I was doing. With him, on video chats, I’d feel like me. He didn’t like all the kohl. So, for his sake, I started to reduce its usage. I saw my reflection in the mirror and was shocked at how well the kohl had hidden me. As soon as the kohl was out, a droopy tired face stared back at me.

I still walk around with that mask. It’s going to be a while till I can confidently walk without it.


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