You think I’m happy because I keep everything inside. I don’t go around posting statuses about my personal life on social media. I don’t give strangers on line at the grocery store my life story. When someone asks me how I’m doing, I don’t jump into a spiel about how my life sucks and list out every little (and big) thing that has been going on lately.
I keep my pain to myself. I don’t bother other people with my problems. I know that there isn’t anything they can do to solve the situations that I’m going through. By telling them what has been on my mind, I’ll only be weighing them down. Giving them something else to stress about. And I don’t want anyone to worry about me. I don’t want anyone to think of me as lost, as helpless, as troubled and beaten and broken.
I would rather deal with my problems on my own, even if that means that I end up sobbing inside of bathroom stalls and texting people who don’t belong in my life and binge drinking until I black out. I don’t want to let anyone in on my biggest secret — that I am secretly struggling and am constantly trying to find new ways to cope.
Even though I am miserable inside, you think I’m happy because I have learned how to play the role. I smile when I am supposed to smile. I laugh when I am expected to laugh. Sometimes I even forget about my own problems. I push them so far to the back of my mind that I can forget they exist for a short while. I can lie to myself until everything feels like it is okay again.
Of course, the charade never lasts for long. Small things will remind me that I am not, in fact, okay. When I see a couple holding hands, I remember that I am bound to fall asleep alone again. When I hear a friend talk about their other friends, I remember that I am not as close to them as I wish I was. When I see a family seated together at a restaurant, I remember how broken mine has become.
When I see someone with a real smile, one that reaches their eyes and makes them crinkle, I remember how hard I have to force myself to feel happy. I remember that every time that I smile I am playing a game and not facing reality.
Even though happiness does not come naturally to me, you think I’m happy because I am trying my absolute hardest to become a better person. I am doing all that I can to look on the bright side, even though I was born a pessimist. I am trying with all of my might to enjoy my life because even though there are so many things that I could complain about, there are also so many things that I am thankful for. There are so many things that should make me smile through the tears.