Sometimes you pretend to be okay. Sometimes you fake a smile. Sometimes you act completely put together on the outside with hopes that it will somehow cancel out the mess you feel on the inside. But your heart isn’t like simple mathematics, and neither is your mind.
Sometimes you participate in conversations, answer back when people are expecting a response. Sometimes you lie about the way you’re feeling or doing when they ask and hope they can’t hear what your brain is actually thinking. “I’m good.” ‘I’m terrible.’
Sometimes you go to the party, socialize with friends because you have to, because you’d feel bad if you told them you ‘just don’t feel like going.’ Because that excuse isn’t good enough for people to not take it personally, because there is no good way to try and make them understand your unexplainable sadness. Because you worry more about them than you do yourself. You bury the unwanted feelings not because you want to fool yourself into think that you’re happy, but to be less of a burden on everyone else.
Sometimes the unwanted feelings shouldn’t be buried. Sometimes they need to be aired out like dirty laundry, like keeping a secret for far too long and finally telling someone with all the words blended together so quickly they have to ask you to say it again. Sometimes those sad feelings just need to be felt. Hell, sometimes feeling them needs to be celebrated.
Because feeling sad isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Crying doesn’t make you weak, and continuing to cry all night doesn’t either. However your sadness manifests itself, it doesn’t lessen your strength, your independence, your capability, it doesn’t take away from who you really are. Your sadness makes you human. Your struggles make you human, and everyone has them. So for once just allow the struggles to exist, to be exactly what they are. Sadness and struggles don’t make you weak, pretending they’re non-existent does.
Sometimes you just have to feel sad and not pretend to feel anything else. Sometimes pretending hurts. Sometimes pretending makes you think you’re being strong because you’re not giving in. You’re not stopping. You just keep going and going until there’s nothing left, until you’ve used every bit of energy you have pretending to be okay. And then what? Sometimes pretending harms more than it heals.
Pretending to be okay doesn’t show how resilient you are, it shows how scared you are. It’s not a symbol of perseverance or determination, it’s a symbol of fear. You don’t have to be afraid of letting people see you struggle. You don’t have to be afraid of being a burden. You don’t have to be afraid of judgement. Be who you are. Feel how you feel. Don’t pretend to be or feel anything else.