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.

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