What I Wish You Knew
By Ashley Quiah
In this personal essay, I reveal the difficulty I undergo when opening up to someone but also emphasize the hopeful outlook I have in my journey of growth.
I wish you knew about my soft, pillowy core. I wish you knew that my RBF is a shell that protects the delicate parts of my soul. That my shut mouth and tendency to end a conversation as quickly as possible are all illusions presented by the outermost layer of me. That when you take the time to peel away the layers, I promise to reveal myself as a confident, loving, and caring human. That the mother in me makes sure you don’t get hurt or completely trip over the things you’re stumbling on. That when I’m nervous, vomit crawls up my throat to be the alarm that tells me I am incapable of behaving normally. That I get tangled in my words like they’re vines in the quicksand below me. I wish you knew how carefully I observe and how badly I want to communicate, but fear gets in the way. I wish you knew that I was pushing past its brick wall, attempting to climb over or crawl through a hole, just to join in. I wish you knew the weight I lug on my back as I creep out of my man-made cave just to talk to you. That I can run back in quicker than I came out. It hurts to know that instead of sharing how proud I am of who I’ve become, I remain enclosed in a glass box that presents distortions of what’s on the other side. I stare at people with their judgmental faces, their laughs at how pathetic the words coming out of my mouth are. When really, on the other side of the fogged-up glass, are just hallucinations. Figments of my imagination that I have conjured up because I worry about the irrationality of the world. But I wish they knew that they have no power over me. That I can blow away the smoke from behind the glass and step out as my truest self. The only things that matter are the people who support me. And I wish you knew how much I appreciate those who support me. I wish you knew more about the things that spark my soul. The things that make my pillowy core cushiony soft. Even though they’re buried deep within me, the small moments, the tiny things that make my wings flutter are what I wish you knew more about. Getting my makeup just right, finding a song that synchronizes with the daydream I’m concocting in my head, the smell of a new book. The strum of my guitar, the scream-inducing jumpscare in a horror movie, the tears that come from laughing too hard. Holding a stone cold front is meant to preserve my soft soul for those who deserve to see it. My inner happiness, reserved like a seat at a blissful bistro. I wish you knew about the efforts I make to not fall apart, because I know I am capable of growing, even if it seems like I don’t believe that about myself. I wish you knew that I am more than just the words you’re reading on this paper. But, most importantly, I wish you knew that while I’m running a million mile marathon in my head to have one conversation with you, I am also building resilience. That while I am fighting battles in my mind with everything that scares me, I am also getting stronger every second. And I wish you knew that one day, you’ll get to see who I really am.
“What I Wish You Knew” was born on a Sunday afternoon during a weekly pair session. We were responding to a writing prompt that asked, “What do you wish others knew about you?” and I had many things to say. What started out as a rough draft of my ramblings of how I wish I was more social blossomed into something much more meaningful. I was able to communicate the physical struggle I face when I have to talk to people but also rave about all the things I love and how I wish other people knew more about them. I aimed for the takeaway to be relatable: how, even though something may seem really daunting, everyone is on their own path of self growth and appreciating every step is extremely important.
Ashley Quiah was born and raised in the suburbs of Queens, NY. She is currently a high school senior. She loves reading, doing yoga, and everything horror. Ashley plans to pursue Astronomy and English when she goes to college.