What is a smile? I think it goes without saying that people define a smile in different ways. Some say a smile is a way to tie everything together. Some say a smile is the glue that keeps you together when you are falling apart. Still others say a smile is a way to reassure people around you that you are doing fine.
What if I said that for me, a smile is a way of hiding?
A way of hiding what I really feel from those around me?
A way of hiding from the sadness that is just lingering beneath the surface?
Because this is true. I often find myself smiling, not for the fact of enjoying something, but for the way it seemingly fools everyone around me into thinking I’m fine. That I’m okay. Goodness, if only that were true. That I am fine. Unfortunately, I’m not fine. I haven’t been fine for a long time. Fine is one of those really strange concepts in life. “Fine” is defined as “a state of being all right”. If that is true, then I truly have not been “fine” for a long time.
So you see, smiling is the only way I hide. I hide from a lot of things. I am not a fighter. I have no strength left to run. So I hide. I hide in plain sight. That always has been the best hiding spot. It’s the last place people look for problems. And so, I carry on in my life, a big fake-but-yet-real-looking smile on my face, hiding from the world as if my life depends on it.
I carry this smile on my face for one purpose only:
To hide the fact that inside, I am falling apart at the seams.
Because honestly, people can’t handle the truth of my situation. My situation is, whenever that smile slips, even for a second, people see the horrible monster that I have been grappling with for years. And they cannot handle that. They pack their bags and up and leave my life. That hurts worse than anything anyone could ever do to me. When they make that decision that I’m not worth fighting for, that they don’t want to help me defeat this monster (even just for a week), that hurts worse than dealing with the horrid monster named Depression. Self-doubt. Self-consciousness. Low self-esteem. Anxiety. Heartbreak. All of these are names for this beast I have living inside my heart, my soul. As long as I continue to live, this beast also continues to live. It is a Catch-22. My life is a Catch-22.