Out Of Love
The look in the mirror was painful. You stayed up again, thinking about all the things that went wrong yesterday. From the minute you overslept till you went to bed, knowing you messed up on the exam and got back the results from your entrance exam that told you exactly what you’ve been telling yourself for months now. Telling you that you are simply not good enough, that you don’t meet the qualifications. Sometimes you wonder if you meet any qualifications. Are you even qualified yet to live? Who thought it was a good idea to put you out here, never meeting the qualifications from the beginning? Just why, you thought. Why will you never meet the qualifications? It started in primary school, you didn’t had the qualifications to go to an upper level secondary school, no, you just were to dumb for it. Stuck in secondary school, you didn’t meet the qualifications for being loved and accepted, who would ever love someone as ugly and disgusting as you? Who would ever love you, when you were looking like that? A question that’s stuck in your head till this day. You always dreamed about becoming someone who will be seen as someone who achieved something. First you wanted to become a lawyer, then you wanted to become a coroner and since you didn’t meet the qualifications of all of these, you settled for a new dream, becoming a journalist.
You didn’t get exactly a shot at being a journalist, but you got a shot to see whats going on behind the scenes of a tv show, which only made you longing more for your dream. You wanted this and you tried, you knew you missed the first date of the entrance exams for journalism and media management, so you signed up for linguistics, so you could improve your writing and get a deeper understanding for the language itself. It wasn’t exactly what you expected and the exams were though, though enough to let you fail three times. After the second time you decided you going to sign up for another major, so you wouldn’t just sit around waiting for your third try to come. You tried, you really did, but yet here you are, knowing all the efforts you put in went to waste. Once again not meeting the qualifications, another failed attempt to become someone who achieved something. Another failed attempt of becoming someone to be proud of.
To put it simple, you hated every minute of it. Looking in the mirror made everything worse, your whole appearance seemed to scream disappointment. You haven’t told the boys yet as you promised, you know they’ve been asking through text messages, but you just kept saying that you simply didn’t know yet. You lied, to avoid disappointing them as much as you disappointed yourself. The longer you looked, the more flaws you found about yourself. The days of studying really got to you, you looked tired even though you got enough sleep. You got skinnier, because eating wasn’t something that fitted in the tight schedule you created for yourself. Even though you had the boys helping you, reminding you too eat, even coming over to bring some homecooked dinner from Kihyun and giving you a pep talk, to help you push through. This time not only your efforts went to waste, no, also their efforts simply were gone. You felt ashamed, because even though you got a lot of support it didn’t help. You still were the same disappointment that you were before all of this. It just didn’t make sense to you. Why couldn’t you be good enough? Just once.
The hate towards yourself grew with every step you took towards your wardrobe, knowing nothing will ever cover up the big fat disappointment written over yourself. You had more than enough clothes, more than enough things that once looked good on you, but did they still? Why would you even try looking good? For what? But this doesn’t matter, you took out your favourite pants, combined with that one shirt you always thought looked extremely good on you. Now you questioned if it ever looked good on you or if you just wanted to tell yourself you looked good, ignoring the fact that you looked absolutely shit. It didn’t matter now anyway, you fell back onto your bed, not knowing what to do with yourself. You could go back to studying, just continue what you did the last few weeks, but you didn’t want to. You couldn’t see it anymore; you couldn’t see it anymore – it was enough already. You knew you had to study again. You knew that if you wanted to succeed eventually you had to do something. Looking back on what happened in linguistics, studying three times for the same exam and failing every single one, everything in you screams, begs you to not do it again. Trying is just one step towards failure after all. You closed your eyes, since you might as well could sleep the whole day. This sounded like a plan, at least you thought so.
It didn’t take long for you to fall back into a light slumber but the doorbell made you jerk up, because you surely didn’t expect anyone. You looked on your phone that was lying next to you, just to see seven missed calls from Hyungwon and around twelve text messages. You sighned reading through all of them, making your way to your door.
“Hey, wake up.”
“Let’s go shopping today.”
“Oh come on, it’s 11 A.M. already.”
“EVEN I AM AWAKE”
“Please? The boys don’t want to come along and I don’t like to go shopping alone.”
“Y/N this isn’t funny.”
“Are you ignoring me?”
“You know what I’m just going come over.”
“Even if you don’t want to, your coming, some time outside will be good.”
“I’m in the car. See you soon.”
You opened the door, not surprised at all, when you saw Hyungwon standing there dressed up casually, but still managing to look like he just stepped out from the cover of Vogue.
“So you’ve really been ignoring me.”, he said looking you up and down. Making you well aware again, that you looked like you stepped out of the garbage can.
“I’ve not. I was asleep.”, you said opening the door wider for him to come in.
“Well at least you are dressed, put on some shoes and let’s go. I want to hit the mall before the afternoon.”, he said and you shook your head.
“I don’t want to go.”, you said, walking into the kitchen while getting the kettle ready.
“Oh come on, we haven’t spend time together in ages. Also you are the only one I actually enjoy shopping with.”, he argued, while you just put some instant coffee into one cup and a teabag into the other.
“Can’t we just do something else? I don’t feel like it.”, the thought of having to face all the mirrors in the mall. The light in the changing rooms that only highlighted your insecurities, made you feel uglier than you already felt. You just didn’t want that. You couldn’t face it. No. You didn’t want to face yourself.
Hyungwon didn’t respond, he just kept starring at you. The boys already knew something was off, since you barely answered their texts the last few days. It was Minhyuk who came up with the idea of just sending one of them first, since sometimes it’s easier to open up to one person, rather than seven. So here Hyungwon was, watching you, trying to figure out what was wrong.
“Do you maybe want to tell me what’s wrong?”, he asked, while leaning back on the kitchen chair, placing the car keys on top of the table.
“Why? What should be wrong? Everything is clearly fine.”, you said turning around leaning against the counter, giving him a pressed smile. You didn’t feel like smiling at all.
“I can clearly see that.”, he answered and you closed your eyes. You knew that you couldn’t keep it up for long, since you basically already gave away, that you weren’t okay.
“Good, let’s go shopping.”, you said putting the water in Hyungwons cup and bringing it over to the table.
“I just go grab my stuff, okay?”, with that you went upstairs.
Hyungwon sighned, he knew this wasn’t going to be anything but easy. Yet he was determined to find out what was bothering you, so he could help you, like he promised he would. Even your moody self wouldn’t be able to stop him.
The moment you stepped into the mall, you already wanted to leave again. The sight of the few people made you uncomfortable and you felt like everyone was looking at you, not because you walked through the mall with an idol but because they could see “DISAPPOINTMENT” all written over you. You knew this was complete crap and absolutely ridiculous but you couldn’t change it. You just wanted to shrink and not be seen at all, so you walked closer to Hyungwon, hoping you would just disappear near his tall figure.
“What are you doing?”, he chuckled, but just keep going.
“I just don’t want anyone to spot us.”, you answered, lowering your head.
“It’s Monday, most people are at work or in school. So you really don’t have to worry.”, he reassured you putting his arm around your shoulder.
“You know you could just ask, if you want to walk close to me.”, he said laughing and pulling you another bit closer. Making you lower your head even more. Hyungwon was tempted to tease you more, but he just let it slip because you really didn’t seem like yourself.
It took a while for Hyungwon to choose a shop, but once you were inside, the loud electro music almost hurt your ear and you knew the longer you spent in hear, the more likely you were to get a headache out of it. You followed Hyungwon crossed armed, barley looking at the clothes that were on display. You already knew that you wouldn’t find anything you like, at least not today. Not in this shop with their god damn house mixes playing.
“Hey you should try that.”, you looked up to find Hyungwon holding a pretty dress that looked far too small for you. You shook your head indicating that you didn’t like it.
“Then what about that?”, he held up some shorts and a crop top. Just looking at it made you shake your head, no way you could wear that. You would look weird, maybe even ugly. Around four pieces later you agreed to try on a sundress, some pants and a blouse. Whilst Hyungwon almost lost his arm with the amount of cloths that were hanging over it.
“Alrgiht let’s try it on and make a fashion show out of it. I’m going first!”, he exclaimed disappearing into one of the changing rooms. You were glad that he did, because this bought you some time, before you had to face the crucial light of the changing room. You looked at the clothes on your lap, thinking that they actually looked good and you might end up buying one.
Jokes on you. After Hyungwon pulled off nearly everything he picked out, you felt self-conscious. You would never be as confident as him in your looks, well you were once, but that was long gone. Disappearing more and more and more with every failed exam coming your way. You tried to not look in the mirror, but it was on every wall, so you could see yourself from every side. You looked to the ground, avoiding the mirror with all costs knowing you will dislike yourself even more, seeing you from all these different angles that gave you access to all of your insecurities, which by now was basically your whole body. Everything about it just didn’t seem right, you could find a flaw on everything. After putting on the clothes you gave yourself a first look in the mirror, you looked at it already disliking the way you looked in it. You couldn’t even point out what it was, you just thought it looked ugly on you. No. You thought you looked ugly in it.
“Are you ready?”, Hyungwon asked, whilst you pulled it in the right places. You didn’t feel confident or pretty, but Hyungwon chose these things so maybe he had a different opinion about it. Gathering every little piece of confidence you had left, you stepped out of the changing room, walking towards Hyungwon and make a full body spin before you came to a stop.
“This honestly looks so good on you, Y/N. Like damn, you look really cool.”, he said but you bit your lip.
“You think so?”, you asked looking down on you.
“I do. Why? Don’t you like it?”, he asked and you shrugged.
“I just don’t feel like I look good in it.”, you admitted eyeing you in one of those bigger mirrors.
“Alright, maybe you’ll like the dress better.”, Hyungwon said and you nodded, making your way back into the changing room. Trying on the dress, it already looked small, too small for you and this was it. The tears stung in your eyes before you could do anything about it. Just looking at yourself in the dress made you want to cry. It was pretty, but too pretty for you. You simply weren’t made for that dress. You hated it. You hated yourself, for not fitting in the dress. For not fitting in anywhere. For not meeting the required qualifications. With every look in the mirror the tears kept streaming down your face. Right in that moment you hated the world, because nothing was right. Nothing was okay and you couldn’t even admit that to yourself or to your friends. It hit you all again, you just wanted to go home, crawl into your bed and never come out again.
“Y/N?”, you heared Hyungwon coming closer. You weren’t able to answer him, you tried to tell him, that it doesn’t fit, but you were hardly understandable.
“Can I come in?”, you heared from the other side of the curtain, but you just pulled it open, revealing yourself in the dress that sat way to tight while shrugging your shoulders.
“I look ugly anyway.”, you manage to press out before brushing away the tears. Hyungwon was taken aback by the image he saw and the words that left your mouth. He’s never seen you that way, the last time he saw you, you were full of confidence finding joy in trying new clothes. In some way it hurt him to see you like that, so he shook his head whilst pulling you into a tight embrace.
“You are anything but ugly, Y/N. Why would you ever think that?”, he asked while closing his eyes. You didn’t answer, knowing you simply couldn’t, because it wasn’t simple.
“It doesn’t matter now, let’s get out of here and find a place where we can talk about it, alright?”, Hyungwon suggested and you nodded, before he let you go.
“Do you want me to call the others?”, he asked before you closed the curtain, but you shook your head. No, it’s going to be hard enough to open up to Hyungwon. You weren’t sure if you could have all seven at them look at you with pity, so you closed the curtain.
The café Hyungwon chose was at the end of the mall, so it was quiet and gave enough space to talk. After getting your drinks you found a pretty safe spot, near the end. You still where wearing Hyungwons sunglasses, which was stupid considering you were inside a mall. You could feel Hyungwons eyes on you, knowing you eventually had to talk about it. Explain it to him and that’s you took off the sunglasses and put them on the table.
“I didn’t pass both.”, you said looking down at your hands. Hyungwon expected you to keep talking but saying it out loud just made it hurt a bit more. Just thinking about it hurt, but actually saying it made it worse, because it is reality. The cold harsh reality you tried so desperately to ignore.
“You know you could have called, right?”, Hyungwon said resting his head on his Hand.
“I couldn’t, not because I don’t trust you, but I just didn’t want to disappoint you.”, you said tearing up again.
“It’s hard enough to disappoint myself but to disappoint you too, making your efforts go to waste. No, I just couldn’t.”, you smiled, while tears threatened to fall once again.
“Because I know you have a lot going on yourself, I know your schedule is tight. You shouldn’t feel obligated to help me too, to carry some of my weight too.”, you explained brushing over your eyes.
“We don’t feel obligated to do that, love.”, Hyungwon said looking at you, putting his hand over yours.
“We want to help you, you’re our friend Y/N. This is not about having additional weight. Do you know how worried every single one of you was the last few days? We’re here and that is not going to change.”, he said giving you a reassuring smile.
“But the one thing I want to know. The last time we met you were so full of confidence and you seemed so happy, when you walked out of the changing room. I’m just wondering, when did you fall out of love, with yourself?”
You never thought about it, about loving yourself and now it left you wondering. Did you ever love yourself? Or did you just have a crush on you once? And if you ever did, what happened?
“I don’t know.”, you said.
“I probably never was.”, you bit the inside of your cheek.
“But before I got the first exam back, I guess I in some way liked myself.” This was nothing easy to talk about and it was nothing you really ever thought about, so the word didn’t come easy.
“To be honest, I don’t think I ever loved myself, I always just liked me but every time there was a setback, I went back to disliking myself and with every setback afterwards there came more hatred.”, you admitted, not looking at Hyungwon.
“Well then.”, he said squeezing your hand.
“Let’s try to do something about it, because I can tell you plenty of reasons.”, you looked up at him, unsure what to say except a thank you and you ment it.
“Oh, don’t think I’m going to tell you. You’ll going to find these yourself, because everyone sees different things in you. We just going to get you these glasses, so you can see clearer.”, he said taking a sip form his iced americano, looking at you with a soft smile.
“We’re going to figure this out.”