‘I don’t feel oppressed’. I thought as I sat on the packed bus, full of rush hour commuters as equally desperate to get home as I was.
My eyes scanned over the different characters standing and sitting around me. All straight faced with little emotion in their eyes. Everything hidden. But I’d gathered that’s how Londoners were, and it was how I had become. I felt my own face mirroring theirs. My lips pursed and my eyes drained of expression. Even while my earphones were turned up high to the sound of Frank Sinatra, I didn’t respond to even a single emotive note.
I supposed I came to the conclusion that I didn’t feel oppressed when I stared at the overweight man in a suit standing in front of me. I was judging him and at the same time, condemning myself for doing so. Torn between two frames of mind; number one being that he was overweight, and number two being that it was none of my business to think such a way. But I didn’t see how I could feel oppressed when I was oppressing others by such small but significant thoughts.
The bus was moving so slowly along the road that I felt that I didn’t know where to look. I’d already looked outside and the view was of roadworks, construction happening on buildings, and busy people rushing by local food shops. I couldn’t look at anyone else on the bus either for fear that I’d stare too long whilst in a trance of thought. I thought back to my growing headache that was borderline a migraine. I worried briefly. The thought that my headache might turn into a migraine and cause me to stumble off the bus, concerned I might vomit on a passing person made me feel nauseous . But again, I tried not to think like that. So much negativity. Yet I thought myself a positive person.
Decidedly, being twenty one is hard, I thought. I’d once read that when in your twenties you change a lot. You start to search for your identity. I didn’t really know what that meant. Despite being twenty one, I felt that my brain was starting to feel the impact of an identity crisis. Half of me wanting to be this equal rights activist that I imagined in my head, whilst the other half deciding to be judgmental and controlling. If I was ignorant, I might have called it human nature. But I knew it was just social conditioning and a misplacement of where my ethics lay.
When the bus came to it’s final stop, which happened to be mine, I sat momentarily staring at my leather bag. I’d started to loathe the contents realising that most of my belongings were branded and I was just promoting companies by using their product. But that wasn’t why I stared. My mind was for once on other things other than Capitalism. I decided that this was who I was for now. In that moment in time. And whether I disliked or liked these parts of myself, it was who I was. And no one was perfect. I disliked my flaws for all of the right reasons. But I also liked them for all of the wrong ones too.