Empath(y)

Alice R.D-Ramnani
3 min readOct 1, 2022

“You are overreacting .”

“You are too sensitive.”

My first memory of crying was when I saw someone else cry. I don't remember the details, but I felt that person's pain as if it was mine. The noise took over my brain like a DOLBY commercial, and I didn’t know how to stop until the person stopped crying. Once when I bumped my head, I was the kid who started laughing because I thought crying made others cry, and I couldn't see that.

My parents are jet setters, so I got the home alone-matilda-santadoesntcometohotels treatment. This means my childhood was very engineer-like without intelligence. Like many neglected children, I grew up faster than I needed too.( Evidence lies in my amazon shopping choices- I don't need to order bubbles at this age.)

I remember staying at my grandparent's house for a couple of months, but I could never sleep without my grandpa or grandma next to me. They stayed in a huuuuuuuge house with 11 rooms (once owned by an embassy of x country) and the smell of old carpet with ginger biscuits and a hint of ricqlès. One fine day they went out for dinner but did not arrive when they said they would, so I did what any other kid would do when you are left to your own devices.

I RAIDED the kitchen…

I went for the ice cream, drank all the coke, and put on cartoon network playing hong kong phoey (this karate dog) . Made a recipe from all the cereals in the house. I mixed orange juice with apple and cranberry and called my friends from the landline with the circle ring dial- you know the one in the 80’s movie, so I had to do every digit separately.

I went to the billiards room, sat on the expensive table, and turned on the record player with Michel Jackson BAD playing. I took the gardening tools and smacked the shit out of the branches for some underripe pears. I played with the poker chips and lost a few. Looked at some old photos. I went into the basement and opened the chocolate fridge (my grandpa speaks 11 languages, travelled the globe, and is a significant business tycoon, and what does he do- he has a fridge filled with Baci chocolate that is sealed, and he counts them every night before bed.) I know that fridge had a unique way to open it like one of the Egyptian magic boxes, so the key is a particular pressure you put on the fridge. I ate 5–6 and filled them with cheese as a cover. He was meticulous so I was caught.

I was then tired. My day was filled. So I turned on the TV, trying to find a cartoon, and the news came on. I remember seeing army officers carrying kids my age from a live bombing in Russia. I was speechless. I could not move, not even turn off the tv. I went full frozen mode. I did not understand anything other than the kid's facial expressions being beyond distressed and half bloody. Beslan school siege. My grandparents came back late that day, and I remember not talking to anyone for a couple of days and missing school because of the news. Now that sounds ridiculous, but at the time, it was not.

I remember trying to find out all the ways why people would place harm on others by going to the library and reading everything I could on international wars, hate crimes, racist acts, the British Empire, and even trying Aesop's fables. I could not conclude anything and still can't. I asked around family and teachers and got to know some of their recollections of their experience with 9–11. Nobody held back on any details of these stories as I became more terrorised with humanity. After living in Lagos, I thought nothing affected me, but I was wrong.

This was the earliest memory of recalling that I was (in today's world called, an empath).

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