I look happy because I keep my problems to myself for the most part. Unless you’re a close family member or friend, I’m not going to spill my drama to you. I won’t write statuses about my misery on social media or cry in public. I will save my breakdowns for private moments.
I look happy because I have mastered the art of social media. I post pictures of myself smiling with friends and posing in cute outfits. I only talk about my successes, never my failures. Everyone sees the milestones I have accomplished, but they know nothing about the background. They have never heard about the therapists or the hospital visits or the drunken nights screaming because at least if I hear my own voice, I remember my existence.
I look happy because my life is perfect on paper. Boyfriend? Check. House? Check. Career? Check. It seems like there is nothing for me to complain about, which pressures me to keep my sadness inside, even when I am suffering inside, because I do not want to come across as spoiled or ungrateful.
I look happy because I make jokes out of my misery. I could talk to you about the worst moments of my life but I would throw some dark humor into the story and you would never guess that I’m bothered. You would assume I am handling everything well. You would assume nothing leaves me upset for long.
I look happy because I am a people pleaser. I do not want to bother anyone else with my troubles. I would rather hear about what has been bothering you and try to make you feel better. I would rather give advice than take it.
I look happy because I have had a lot of practice pretending. I know the right things to say. I know the right times to smile. I never use words like fine because everyone knows that means I am secretly miserable. I try not to hint at my pain, because I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me.
I look happy because you only see me during my highest moments, when I actually am happy. But just because I am happy during a photograph does not mean I remained happy later that night when I was alone in my bedroom, or even five seconds after the shot was taken. My emotions change rapidly. Sometimes I am happy, but it’s never for long.
I look happy, because really, how else am I supposed to look? Just because I seem put together does not mean I am okay. Just because I can get through the day with a smile plastered on my face does not mean the smile is genuine.
I look happy because I am working my hardest to turn that into a reality. I don’t want to feel like this forever. I want to love myself. I want to love my life. I want to stop looking happy and actually feel happy.