I Like To Pretend I Have It All Together

Brooke Cagle

I like to pretend I know exactly what I’m doing. Exactly where I’m going. That I have it all figured out. But the truth is I’m unbelievably good at lying.

I lie to others.

I lie to myself.

I’ve created a life for myself I am proud of.

But there are moments where I question it all.

There are moments I wonder why do I feel the way I do?

Am I the only one?

Is there something wrong with me?

And if I’m not different why do I feel like I am?

I could be surrounded by so many people and yet there are moments I feel alone.

I could be doing the best at work yet still feel like I’m failing.

I could be the life of the party laughing and smiling but then I freeze.

I could be laying next to someone and I realize I have never felt so lonely

Am I happy or am I just trying to be?

Am I a good person or do I want people to just think I am?

I drive down long roads from the past reminicing of when I was 17. Mourning the past like it was better than it was. Fearing the future.

Clinging to old loves like I won’t find a new one. Or clinging to old love hoping they can teach me to love myself.

Looking at my reflection like if I changed maybe then I’d be happy.

I scroll through a newsfeed. Sometimes I wonder how people perceive me. If the life I paint across social media is even real or if the girl looking back at me is just good at faking it.

I ask do people like me then the bigger question than that is do I like myself and the person I’ve become?

Seeking validation through likes of people I don’t even know. Staring at a screen and obsessed with it.

Sometimes I feel like I’m an actress in my own life playing this role of perfection or just wanting my life to be that way. The pressure I put on myself almost makes me want to crumble sometimes.

I’ve spent a lot of my life thinking something was missing within me. Hoping good grades and promotions and awards would fill this void. But it hasn’t.

I have a resume that glows and a reputation to be proud of but it doesn’t feel like it’s enough.

Across the board I look like I have it together. On the outside I don’t look like I’m falling apart but sometimes it feels like I’m breaking into little bits and I don’t know how to put myself back together.

I stand in a house with people who raised me and sometimes I feel like they don’t know me.

But then it hits me maybe I don’t know myself.

Because I asked myself the other day what makes you happy? And I didn’t know how to answer it because I didn’t know.

I asked myself the toher day how would you define yourself? And I realized I was describing the person I wanted people to think I was.

I looked at a calendar with dates filled, appointments and events.

I am making it through 24 hours but then it hit me am I actually living?

And is it a life I want to?

Is it one I’m proud of?

Not to make my parents friends and family proud but me.

I asked myself the other day when was the last time you were happy?

And I thought back to a year a really long time ago.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent so much time trying to appease others I lost myself along the way.

Playing this role they needed without realizing the emotional toll it’s taken on me.

And there are moments I don’t know who I am, who I want to be, where I want to go or where my next move should be.

Instead of trying to get those answers I just keep painting this picture of how I think I should be.

I look at others and I wonder does anyone else ever feel lost in their own skin?

Because I keep trying to find home in other people, in other places, in other things but I don’t know where to find it within myself to point where I want to stay and not keep running.

I run away but no matter where I go I can’t escape this feeling like the person looking back at me is a stranger. TC mark

Kirsten Corley

Kirsten is the author of But Before You Leave, a book of poetry about the experiences we struggle to put into words.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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