At 11 minutes past 11 on the 11th of September the final stitches of a new life were pulled tight. I wasn't the brightest hat, or the most colourful, or even the softest, but the stitching was strong, and there were no other hats like me.
A year after my birth, my brother was born four months premature and almost died. Not too long after that, my parents separated. But through all this my seams held firm, I took everything in my stride and was strong for my family, until I started school.
Throughout primary school I never knew friendship and was a prime target for bullies, my hat wasn't like all the rest. Every day I was hurt, crushed, ripped and torn. My stitching frayed and I started falling apart. I began to slowly slip into the darkness of depression.
I didn't want my family seeing how much my stitching had frayed, so I made my first badge, a mask to hide behind. It was pinned into place, and punctured through my soft fabric skin so that I could keep my pain hidden from those I cared about. If it wasn't sitting right, I'd move it and create yet another puncture mark that would never heal.
As the years went by, I hid more and more of my true self from others until the hat itself became a mask, hiding the real person underneath.
By the end of grade seven I was so torn, so thread bare, that there was only one string holding me together. I was getting closer and closer to cutting that string and ending it all.
This was until I met Her, the girl who saved my life. She saw through my badges and saw how tattered I was. She brought a needle and thread and helped sew me back together. Even though my life was still a fabrication, at least now I was a whole one.
Even though She stopped me from cutting my own strings I was still depressed, 'til I saw the musical 'Wicked' the back-story of the Wicked Witch of the West; Elphaba. I found that she was a hat exactly like me, and her story reinforced my new stitches with green thread.
With the help from Her and Wicked, I was becoming the hat I once was. Maybe it was now time to remove some of the badges? I decided to show Her what was under some of the badges because she was the first person to care so much about me, and as our relationship became closer, I opened up even more to her. Eventually she had seen every inch of the material that made up my soul. I trusted her with the most delicate part of me; I never knew she'd be so reckless with it.
Though some might think it gross or strange, I loved her with all my heart. But one night, she left me and even my thick layer of badges couldn't hide how much she'd hurt me. I was broken and shattered, all of the stitching she had repaired fell apart and once again I nearly gave up on life. The only thing that held me together was a thin green thread.
It was two days before exam block and one week before my 18th birthday, I didn't want people to worry about me so I added more badges, and fixed my seams up enough so that I would appear fine and get through my exams. But if you look under my mask of badges you'll see the gaping holes of rips and tears, and the stitching that's there is loose and badly sewn, but if anyone asks I'll laugh it off, say I'm fine, and hide behind my badges once again.
However this is only one aspect of my years in high school, there have also been good times with something I'd hadn't had before 'Friends'. For example; exactly one week after my heartbreak was my 18th birthday. I was covering my tears, hoping that the people who cared for me wouldn't see. I wore a mask in case I cried, and everything was black. But that night I had more fun than I ever thought possible. I had started as a shadow, and left as a gipsy.
In future years I hope to finish the stories I'm currently writing and get them published. Job wise I just want something that pays enough for a small studio apartment, food, power for my laptop so I can write, and maybe some canvases and paints.
Who knows how long my makeshift seams will last. They may not even last to the end of the year. Who knows if I'll ever be rid of my badges, or the pain that keeps them there. One day, maybe.
Thank you for listening.