A man staring at a couple
Photography by Darina Belonogova

From the sidelines of your beautiful life, I watched.
Like an extra in a movie, I meandered, unnoticed.
I watched you get used, manipulated, then discarded.
And then watched you create monsters of people you shattered.

I watched your heart turn to stone from emotional hazards,
and then watched those you painfully damaged.
I watched you rush to reject first because you were afraid,
Afraid they’d beat you to it, afraid they never stayed.

I watched fear consume you, I watched it become your motivation.
The fear to fail, fear to disappoint, fear of abandonment.
In this abyss that’s your life I watched you lose yourself to find acceptance,
and watched as you mistook attention for love.

I saw your desire to be the same, I noticed your hunger to fit in.
Helpless, I watched you forget you were meant to stand out.
I watched you turn into a person you hardly recognized,
and I noticed you become what you passionately despised.

Invisible to you I watched, as you started to hate and loathe what you were,
and saw your futile efforts to find love.
I watched you repeatedly fail because you hardly loved yourself,
and noticed you stick to toxicity because it’s all you had.

I watched as underexposure made you overrate the little you’d seen,
and saw you settle for less, for you didn’t deem yourself deserving better.
I lurked around and watched, as you distanced yourself to protect yourself,
And noticed you convince yourself you liked to be on your own.

I watched with sadness, as you smiled for the camera and later cried for your pillow.
and watched you hide your pain behind jokes and humor.
I watched, overwhelmed with pity, as you did it all to make the picture perfect,
‘pretty smile, find the fitting filter.’

I watched you put on a show, I saw you force a smile and laughter.
“If they believe it maybe I’ll believe it with them,” you told yourself.
On pressure to look and feel good, I saw you fake your confidence.
I noticed, as you hid a low self-esteem behind mean and abusive manners.

I watched you feel lonely, misunderstood, ignored and unloved.
I saw you choose to be a menace and rebellious,
because then, they’d finally give you attention.
In my corner I sat and watched you battle addiction,
I watched you convince yourself it’s the last time,
and then looked on as you ridiculed yourself when you found yourself at it again.

I watched you sink in the pits of depression, I watched you try to face it alone.
I watched in silence, hoping you’d notice me,
hoping you’d look in my direction. And maybe then you’ll realize,
That you were never alone.

A poet, an activist and fictional writer from Uganda. From literature, I derive expression. Literature opened and widened my imagination, gave me the courage to paint my world the way I desire by writing.

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