Archive | May, 2012

When Your Mask Becomes Too Thick

24 May

So today I did something that I’ve absolutely never done before.

In all started innocuously enough; I casually mentioned to my friend that the only person who might be able to pick me up after school was my brother, since my parents were leaving today. I had already told her beforehand that my parents were going to be leaving town for a couple of days twice this year, this being the first. I told her it was for medical reasons, but she didn’t know the specifics.

My friends sitting at our table heard and asked why my parents weren’t going to be home, and started asking specifics. My closest friend, the one sitting next to me, had already found out the core of the problem two years earlier; that my dad had kidney troubles. I had to divulge the fact that he was being put on more donor lists and had to travel to hospitals in different states to everyone at the table. Then I had to sit there and endure everyone asking questions and asking if I was alright.

Don’t get me wrong; of course it’s a serious matter and of course I’m not happy about it. But as I sat there with a smile and waved each of their concerns away, they all stated the same thing. Wow, she doesn’t even really care. The thing is though, is that I have known about this problem for years. I have cried about it before, I have worried about it before, and I have pushed away the worst possibilities and chosen to in part ignore it and in part be optimistic. My parents like to keep the details away from me, and I let them.

But as I sat there, and listened to them tell me that it was okay and that it was okay to be sad, they forced me to think about it. They forced me to address something, that I only fret about once in a blue moon, right there at the table. They brought my attention to something I run away from, unless I’m in the safety of my room, hidden away from the world.

So I let them ask their questions as I mostly turned away and picked at my food, and they again noted that I wasn’t affected in the slightest. That’s when I got a bit concerned. Did they not notice how I was avoiding the situation and turning myself away? Did they not notice the extra sheen in my eyes, the giveaway that something was building behind them? Had my armor really gotten that thick that no one even noticed if anything was wrong anymore?

I am not the kind of person who openly shares deep concerns or emotions. I smile; everyday. I hide behind that smile. Maybe I think that if I just smile, everything will get better. And I never let it crack.

But today, a minute or two after attention had shifted, my friend turned to me and asked, “But are you okay? Really, are you okay?” I had been sitting there and letting their comments battle around in my head. My train of thought was getting out of hand and the inner turmoil was beginning. I smiled and then gave a little rueful laugh as my eyes started brimming with tears. Jokingly, I commented, “Too late now!”. And I started crying. Right in the middle of the cafeteria, in front of all of my friends. And I smiled the entire time, hastily wiping tears away as each of them escaped my eyes.

The thing is, it wasn’t even all about family troubles. Sometimes it feels like our bodies cease to communicate with thoughts; they just run on pure emotions. Small things build up inside until all you feel is a burning, or aching, in the pit of your stomach. And thinking about one bad thing is enough to get that ball of emotion raging inside of you, and that’s what can set a person off.

This week, I found out that I was rejected for a position I applied for. I took a practice SAT test and didn’t even improve since the last time I took one. My parents left for a three day trip. And as ridiculous as it sounds, a fictional character on a TV show got his future hopes and dreams crushed and all I could think about was how I could end up just like that. No plans, no chance at getting into a college like William and Mary or UVA, no leadership positions to put on my applications; nothing special about me. I have the confidence to admit that I’m good at a lot of things. Dancing, playing the violin, academics, writing. But I don’t excel at anything. I’ll never be the president or the leader or the master of a skill; I’ll always be in the back, simply adequate. When I used to approach tasks, I told myself that I would succeed but it would be okay if I failed. Now my mindset is I’ll probably fail, but hey, it’d be awesome if I actually succeeded. To be honest, my self-confidence has been shot for as long as I can remember. My social awkwardness, fear of basically everything, and insecurity have all stemmed from how uncertain I am in my ability to do anything or be anything.

I now sit here, typing (sorry, venting) all of my feelings before you as tears stream down my face as I address all of my darkest fears and insecurities. If one could express emotions as physical feelings, I would say anger is like a fire burning in your heart. Happiness is a lightness in your feet. And sadness is a drowning in your very own mind.

I’m so sorry for this ridiculously personal and angst-ridden post. This may make it seem like I’m chronically depressed or suicidal or something but honest to god, I’m not. I generally bounce between emotions often, so you can bet that in twenty minutes, I’ll be singing in the shower or something.

Are these emotions something that you guys can relate to? Have you ever realized that you’re so closed off from that world that even the people closest to you have no idea when you’re hurting? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and I hope you have a lovely day. And also, I’ve hit 11k views! I never would have imagined that that was possible when I started this blog a year ago, so thank you to all of my subscribers (who stay even when I never post) and random stragglers 🙂

Oh, and on a completely unrelated note, go wish one of my dearest friends happy birthday tomorrow (aka Friday)! Thomas, I really hope you don’t stumble across this post until at least Saturday so it won’t be a downer; if you do, sorry in advance!