I hate how much I care. I hate how I can spend several nights in bed, replaying the same moment over and over again, wishing I could change it. I hate how I can remember the disgusting words that someone said to me years after they were spoken, but have trouble remembering the details inside of my sugary sweet memories.
I hate how upset I get when someone raises their voice at me, when someone takes too long to answer a text, when someone gives me the smallest hint that they are annoyed with me. I hate how I overthink every little thing. Things that no one else would even notice, let alone dwell on for hours at a time.
I hate how sensitive I am. I hate how hard it is for me to deal with rejection, with disappointment, with a split second of awkwardness. I hate how I have no control over my thoughts or emotions. How I can break into tears the second I leave a roomful of people and am alone again.
Of course, no one has any idea how soft my heart is. They think I can handle anything that is said to me. They think that hard times roll right off of my back. They think that I am crafted of stone with an impenetrable core.
They think I am much stronger than I feel, because I cover up my true emotions. I pretend that I couldn’t care less about what other people think. I act like nothing bothers me.
I make jokes about my pain to cover up how much I have been suffering. I lie about being fine when my heart is begging me to spill my thoughts, to release the burden pressing against my chest. But I am a master of playing pretend. I have learned how to fake smiles until even I swear they are real.
Whenever I meet someone new, someone I can imagine a future alongside, I hold myself back. I act like I am the one who cares less. Like it would make no difference to me if the person stayed or left me behind like all of the others who came before. I break my own heart before someone else has the chance to do it for me.
Even when it comes to my closest friends, I have trouble letting my feelings show, because I have become accustomed to hiding behind a mask. I use sarcasm and mean names to show affection. I rarely tell anyone how much I love them. I assume that they know. I assume that I don’t have to say the words aloud.
I pretend I am stronger than I feel, because I don’t want to increase my chances of getting hurt. I don’t want anyone to see how vulnerable I am and take advantage of the fact. I don’t want anyone to realize that they have the power to hurt me.
But mostly, I pretend I am strong, because I wish it were the truth. I wish I were more like the person that everyone else sees, the person that doesn’t actually exist.