Jay stared at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. He looked himself up and down, focussing on every flaw, every tiny thing that flooded his system with discomfort.
His hips, his face, his cheekbones, the shape of his mouth and nose, other tiny things that nobody else would ever notice, but Jay noticed. It was his face after all. His form.
Nothing was enough.
He dragged his eyes away from the glass, telling himself over and over that focussing on everything that made him uncomfortable would just make him feel worse. Instead of glaring at himself any longer, he took a deep breath and took a less than comfortable seat against the bathroom wall, and flipped to an empty page in the record he had been keeping for a few months now.
A bad thoughts diary if you would.
Last time he’d seen his therapist before their sessions were over, it was something that they had recommended as a method of letting things out. A harmless coping mechanism to try out whenever he felt like it.
The bathroom was silent, other than the tiny tapping sounds of a pen neatly printing the date at the top of the page. There was something lovely about a neat diary entry, yet not quite lovely enough to spend time making every letter perfectly uniform. As long as he could understand it, Jay didn’t care what his handwriting looked like, and he rushed to put all the things he was thinking on paper and let them momentarily escape the whirling mass of ideas in his head.
How he felt about his body, his situation, the tiny details and the large overarching problems, some things that would seem insignificant yet meant the world and other things that felt huge but weren’t too bad to deal with, the fear of not being accepted or being outcast. Perhaps some of it was irrational, thought that didn’t matter. Anything that came to mind was written down in a long paragraph of spidery text.
Jay wasn’t meticulous about his diary. He didn’t keep a strict routine with it, just whenever he felt down in the dumps or had a particularly bad day, he’d collect the book, find a solitary spot, and make another entry. The bathroom was good, there was no chance of anybody bursting in and demanding to see what he was doing due to the lock on the door.
It wasn’t that Jay didn’t trust that his friends would understand privacy and stop asking after a while, he just didn’t want to have to think about that at all. He didn’t want to risk someone reading it over his shoulder before announcing their presence, or jokingly snatching it out of his hands and inadvertently reading a sentence before giving it back. It wasn’t worth it. He’d gone into detail in his book, details that very clearly spelled out various personal problems that he wasn’t comfortable sharing.
Recording all his bad thoughts didn’t fix his problems - obviously - yet even though the pages weren’t sentient, and couldn’t offer him any support, it felt good to write everything down. It was like a break from everything going on up there.
When he was content with what he’d written, Jay took another deep breath, briefly closing his eyes and calming down a little. He skimmed over the lines to make sure everything was right, then almost jumped out of his skin when somebody knocked on the bathroom door.
"Just a second!" Jay exclaimed, shoving his notebook up the front of his shirt, unlocking the door and allowing Kai to enter the room instead, who quickly slammed the door and re-locked it.
He made his way quickly to the ninja's shared room, pulling out a box from under his bunk - conveniently the bottom bunk - and placed his book inside, looking around before shoving it back under and standing up, walking away as if nothing had happened.
His fellow ninja hadn't quite noticed what he'd been hiding from the rest of them, and quite luckily too. He wasn’t ready to come out yet. Even though he knew that they would probably all be fine with it, some things just needed time.
Well... maybe Kai wouldn’t be fine. He’d expressed some questionable beliefs from time to time, and while he often apologised after a threatening glare from Nya or a slap on the wrist from Zane, even knowing that he thought those things was enough to keep Jay firmly locked in the closet.
Kai wasn’t the only problem though. Nya brought forward an entirely different issue.
She was his girlfriend, and he loved her very dearly, and he couldn't imagine losing her. He didn’t know what her stance was when it came to her sexuality.
It's just... they were a couple, and at some point or another. Nya was bound to find out.
He knew it was just paranoia, she was a huge ally to all sorts of communities, but paranoia like that never really went away, no matter how much he told himself it would all be ok.
Jay walked out onto the deck of the Bounty and found Zane doing afternoon stretches, Cole doing weight training, and Lloyd flicking tiny balls of green energy at a couple of pigeons that had landed on the railing.
"Oh, hey Jay! How come you aren't in your ninja suit?" Cole asked, genuinely worried.
"I just feel a bit sick. I'll get back to training tomorrow."
It wasn't exactly a complete lie. He felt sick because of the steady lingering anxiety in the pit of his stomach.
Of course, he could tell somebody, but he was too scared, too worried, too anxious. He was too afraid of rejection, scared that his friends would treat him differently.
Jay turned around and headed back inside, intending to go back to his bunk and rest his eyes for a little while. To try and make sense of the mess that was his mental state.
Who would have guessed what crazy turns his life would soon take.