"Contemplated posting this since it felt quite personal but decided to since there's some serious awareness that needs to/should be brought to attention/learned here:
Was walking towards the church along William Street to sketch the architecture, but saw a teen sitting on the steps fiddling with safety pins he had stuck along the skin on his wrist. I "perched" on a nearby bench to sketch him instead.
“Hey there” I said as I sceptically approached him.
He frantically pulled his sleeve down and used his left hand to cusp his wrist.
(Was actually quite afraid his gelled spiked hair would stab me in the eye, like a tall man’s nipple in winter)
“Hey...what’s up?” He responded while looking at his feet. Though in boots, I could tell he was “clenching” his toes- like you would when you try to pick a pen off the floor when you’re too lazy to bend over (that’s what she said).
“Why do you do that?” I asked as I pointed to his wrist and slowly sat next to him.
“Do what... the pins? Cause it makes me feel good. Like I deserve it...”
“Deserve the pain? Why are you punishing yourself though...We all make mistakes, so no one deserves to get hurt.”
“Physical pain is better...it distracts you from the mental pain.”
“Your fashion sense is cool, reminds me of Harajuku street kids mixed with punk. Is that what inspired you?”
“Kind of, but I’d like to think I have my own style.”
“Well, you do. You get inspired by something and make your own creation based on that...What do you want to be when you’re older? I’m assuming you’re in high school?”
That’s the moment he looked up and spoke to me with eye contact.
“Yea, but I don’t go. I don’t mind making clothes. I mean...creating outfits.”
“So a fashion designer? You could totally do that and didn’t you know? Couture runways like Alexander McQueen are the best ones. You should pursue it if that’s your ambition! Why don’t you go to school...Besides it being a Saturday ahah”
“Hmm..I would but...I’m a guy. Ah, people at school are a waste of space. They’re mean and rude.”
“But most people has gotten bullied before...I used to. For my race, for my height, for my looks... There was a period I sat in cubicles during breaks cause I didn’t have friends. I still went to school, it’s important. You should just go and try your best, then make it into fashion school.”
“Really? People are stupid. They throw rocks at me and put gum in my hair, one time I gelled my hair this way and someone cut some off without me even knowing. Then they put the hair in my bag. I think that’s when I stopped going. I don’t know.”
“Do you feel different?”
“I feel like I am the only one. No one can hear me. They only point or stare and judge when I dress this way.”
“Why do you dress this way if you feel judged?”
“Because...it’s like another skin.”
“Why are you sitting here by yourself anyway?”
“I don’t want to be in the house. Sometimes there are other people like me that hang around here, it just feels more like home than being in that stupid hole”
“Why isn’t it a home in your house...”
“It’s not a home if your dad is going steal your mum’s money and blame it on his son, then go out but come home drunk and hit her cause she didn’t save dinner for him. It’s not a home when you’re the only child and they tell you they didn’t even want you in the first place.”
“That’s fucked. I am so sorry to hear that... I wished there was something I could do...”
“haha I know.”
“Well, if it makes you feel any better...I drew this for you. I left it in black and white but I think you’re really interesting and you’re in luck cause I brought my markers today! What’s your favourite colour?”
“I’d rather not say...”
“Let’s just say...that man beat me up because I brought home a wrist band in that colour and got pushed into a wall and spat at.”
“Surely you’re exaggerating...What colour is it...purple?”
“how did you know?”
“Oh my god. Don’t tell me he associates it with being feminine? I like blue, doesn’t make me masculine. Tons of men at the office wear baby blue and baby pink. what the hell is wrong with being gay anyway, people are just..never mind. I'm having an annoying day with people too”
“Really...I wouldn’t even dare think about touching clothes that colour...I don't see anything wrong with being gay...but others do.”
"Don’t be silly, like what you want! Anyway, here you go. Purple through the sketch just like you’ve always wanted because this is the only thing you've wanted for all eternity. Im just being sarcastic haha”
“Wtf am I going to do with this?”
“oh...Well, you don’t have to have it, I just thought...”
“WAIT no it’s cool, I’ll have it. It’s cool. Do you have a tag?”
“huh like a gift tag? What, is my dress tag hanging out? Whaaa?”
“oh! No...I don’t graffiti. I think it’s art but unfortunately it’s frowned upon. May I take a photo of you with it before I leave?”
“No...I’d rather not. I don’t take photos.”
“Then I’ll judge myself.”
“Can I have your name?”
“Just call me John Doe. Like I’m dead.”
“oh my god! That’s so morbid!”
“Nah, it’s probably a better place than here. It’s a cool name though, you’re anonymous without being nameless.”
I smiled and waved bye but he rolled the drawing up and stared at his feet. So I pretended to be chasing a fly away.Not sure how to feel. About the conversation, not the fake fly..."