No, You’re Not Dead Inside (You’re Just Afraid Of Being Hurt)

Grace Chung
Grace Chung

“Well, you know, it’s fine because I’m dead inside.”

I’m standing outside my favorite Mexican restaurant with a new friend. I’ve just finished telling her about my disastrous experience with a man a few weeks back. I was essentially rejected, ridiculed, and guilted all in one night. Impressive, eh?

But I jump in quickly with a joke. It’s a joke so many people my age make. It’s one that’s all over Twitter. It’s one that’s so over the top, so clearly not true. And yet, we keep on making it. Our egos toss it in front of our hurt, our disappointment. We say, “Here, laugh with me.”

Having used this technique myself, I know exactly what it means. I know every time someone says, “I’m dead inside,” or, “I don’t have feelings,” they’re hiding. It’s easier this way. It’s easier to say we like our coffee the same color as our hearts, black.

For some ridiculous reason, it’s not cool to talk about your feelings. It’s not cool to say, “Yeah, that actually was really painful. It sucked. It made me sad.”

We’re all so afraid of letting our guards down. We’re all so afraid of being our true selves, of letting someone see the cracks and bruises.

Whenever someone says, “I’m dead inside,” they are saying, “I’m scared.” Something has happened to them in the past, or maybe a bunch of somethings, and they’ve decided it’s safer to build up walls.

Being scared, hurt, humiliated are all normal parts of human existence. You are not a robot. You are not dead inside. You are layered and complex so OF COURSE you’re going to experience a myriad of emotions and feelings.

It’s okay to look dumb. It’s okay to be embarrassed. It’s okay to get your hopes up for something and have it fall apart. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay!


Can we just stop this collective show of fake pride and inability to be upset? You’re not dead inside. You’re just afraid.

And it’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to say that out loud. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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