She can get through anything. Heartbreak. Ended friendships. Dysfunctional family fights.
Whenever the world hurts her, she fakes a smile and keeps on going as if nothing happened. As if she’s perfectly fine. As if her heart is unbreakable.
She looks strong. But she doesn’t feel strong. She feels like she’s living a lie, like everyone gives her more credit than she deserves.
After all, everybody only thinks she’s strong, because they see a single side of her. They see her during the day, when she has enough energy to pretend. But they don’t see her at night, alone in her bedroom, when she’s too tired to outrun her problems.
She never lets anyone catch her when she’s vulnerable.
When she has the urge to cry, she pushes the tears away until she has a chance to escape to the bathroom to let the water flow. When she’s upset, she’ll make up an excuse to cancel her plans, so no one realizes that she’s acting off. And when she has a mental breakdown, she doesn’t text her friends about it or post a Facebook status. She suffers in silence.
She doesn’t see the point in sharing her misery. Her friends consider her the funny one. The bubbly one. The problem solver. They come to her with their issues. They expect her to know what to do. They expect her to have her shit together.
So she nods and offers consolation when they complain about their near-perfect lives, even though she wants to scream that they don’t know what real problems are. That she’s dealing with something a million times worse.
But she doesn’t let herself explode. She listens. She understands. She tries to be a good friend.
And when she’s in public, when people are around, it’s not all that hard to put her problems aside. She’s gotten used to it.
But the second she gets in her car, the second she’s out of view of the rest of the world, all of her problems come crashing down around her.
She hates long drives alone in the car, just as much as she hates midnight thoughts. She hates being stuck in her own mind — because it’s a dangerous place.
It’s a place where she’s convinced she’s behind in life. She’s unsuccessful. She’s ugly. She’s stupid. She’s going to die alone. She’s going to die without fulfilling any of her dreams.
Even though she looks strong, even though she is strong, her fears won’t leave her alone. They follow her home every night, into her bedroom, into her dreams.
And they make her feel small. Worthless. Useless.
She hates that the rest of the world sees her as one thing, as a beautiful independent woman, while she sees herself as something else entirely. As a fake.
She doesn’t realize that she’s as strong as iron, because she keeps going. She’s strong, because she still has hope. She’s strong, because she’s capable of smiling through the pain.
She’s strong, because she’s still alive, even though she’s witnessed how cruel this world can be.