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!


6 Responses to “When Your Mask Becomes Too Thick”

  1. Thomas May 24, 2012 at 11:17 PM #

    Okay, I have so many thoughts right now in response to this post and I’m just going to get them all out without attempting to sound eloquent at all:

    There aren’t many people I seriously respect, Curry, but you’re one of them – one of the reasons why is because you are always so calm and collected and able to be the one that remains steady when everyone else is freaking out. But just because you have this ability or are able to portray yourself in such a way does not mean that you shouldn’t let your mask down. Just because you cry (over something that should be cried over, honestly) does not mean everyone is going to throw a pity party for you or think you’re depressed or suicidal – things in life happen, and that’s why you have your friends to support you. And simply because you try not to show your emotions all the time does not mean that people think (or at least, I don’t think) you don’t have any at all, because we know you better than that.

    Furthermore, this post makes me a little angry. Not at you, but at society. Here we have someone who is one of the most intelligent, kind, mature, and all-around talented people I know who is mentally killing herself over not getting into a “good” college because of not having enough “leadership positions” and other things like that. It frustrates me that you have to worry about these things when you possess all the character traits and all the intellectual ability to succeed no matter what college you go to… and it’s sad that society is capable of making someone think they are merely “adequate” when they are far beyond that, just because of supposedly objective measures of success that are not objective at all.

    Don’t get me wrong, I worry about college all the time too. I worry about my grades, my ECs, my test scores, etc. and I can’t lie about that. But the thing is, we both have bigger things in our lives to fret over, you shouldn’t be too worried about all of those things when you have something serious going on in your life that affects someone you love. The disparity between school and what is going on with your dad is gigantic, and for the latter (as well as the former) you deserve to express your emotions in whatever way you choose.

    In response to the posed question in your post, yes, there are a lot of things I don’t share with a lot of people, but there are quite a few things I share with a few people. I blog about personal things, yes, but I don’t tell people things unless I know I can trust them and I know that they can on some form relate. I don’t even need to say that you’re one of the few, but I will irrespective of that.

    You have a lot going for you, so look on the bright side. I want to say something like, wow, your SAT ii scores are so high, but in reality that’s not what I mean and probably not what would help you. Look at where you are at now and what you have accomplished that is not related strictly to school or to what will get you into college. You can discern right from wrong, you have great friends and a family that cares about you, you are able to do so much and you are capable of learning so much more. I know that it’s hard to not think about leadership positions and all of that when you are entrenched in this somewhat messed up school system, and when you are surrounded by peers who talk of nothing but those things, but at the end of the day don’t lose yourself and how great you are to the faulty standards others have set for you.

    You and I both know that it’s not healthy to repress things like this, and I’m very glad that you took the time to write this post… I think it’s part of your personality to not say more than what is needed and to not show everything you’re thinking, but just because you have that tendency doesn’t mean you are regulated by it – you have a tough life, but you have people here to back you up. One of them is me. I rely on you, so don’t you dare hesitate to rely on me.

    • lightningflash2 June 4, 2012 at 6:16 PM #

      I’m sorry I haven’t given a formal reply to this yet, so here goes. Thank you, so much. It means so much to me. Not just to hear your kind words, but to know that I have a best friend who cares so much. And I hope you always know the feelings mutual 🙂

  2. here June 5, 2012 at 6:53 AM #

    Have you thought about adding some relevant links to your article? I think it will really enhance everyones understanding.

    • lightningflash2 June 5, 2012 at 6:03 PM #

      Well I could certainly understand adding links, sources, and references to enhance any article that talks about worldly occurrences, but seeing as this is a personal piece on my thoughts and emotions, I’m not sure what outside sources you’re thinking of…

  3. Nish January 29, 2013 at 12:29 AM #

    I just stumbled across your blog, and I have to promise, that things do get better. I’m a fellow curry (albeit in Australia) and I know the pressures you’re facing. Having been in that position a couple of years ago (applying to university, family problems and personal health problems), the only thing I can say is figure out what makes you truly happy and go for that. I’m not saying disregard what your parents want, or the future, but figure out a way to find something that you love to do within those bounds. I assure you, life will feel a lot better because of it.

    • curryforyourthoughts May 5, 2013 at 10:44 PM #

      Thank you so much for your kind words; I’ll keep them in mind! And thank you for reading

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