You see them every time you open social media. Smiling, happy faces. Weddings, births, graduations, nights and days out, trips. You look at our faces and you see a big, great smile. You think we are happy and accomplished. That we have it all. That you will never reach as high as we have. You want to be us.
And we like it this way for a very simple reason.
No one wants to have their wounds exposed, so we dress them heavily with layers and layers of dressing, a plaster upon plaster, each time stronger and heavier, for each time the wound opens up a little more; hoping that no one will notice how much we bleed. Any drop of blood we consider to be a sign of weakness. Giving in. So we stand strong, putting on masks and dancing a happy dance to a happy tune.
Sometimes we tire of pretending and we crave for the mask to be take off just for a little while. Just for a second, for us to catch breath; to convince ourselves that the world isn’t as terrible as we learned and these wounds of ours, finally slightly healed, are just our imagination. We let the mask down and we show our weaknesses, our dreams and hopes and we find out that this is the opportunity someone else was waiting for, to think greater of themselves, not to walk with you. We are not alone in our suffering, but we are alone in carrying it. No one will ever help you, inasmuch as they profess they would; they won’t. They reopen the wounds which, though they are only slightly healed, you have learned how to live with them, and so the blood oozes and we put on more dressing, and each time we do the same thing, somehow failing to learn. All that to the point where we no longer see ourselves, but our dressing, our walls and our inhibitions. We learn to distrust everyone we meet. But only until we are deceived to take that risk again. Again, we are left alone, redressing our wounds, looking for a fancier mask, bigger feathers and more accomplishments to convince ourselves of…
What once helped to protect us from the world and was there to heal us, now becomes a heavy burden, physically crushing us down, until we are unable to stand up. So we learn to walk bent, at first slightly, then increasingly, until we are no longer ourselves, but the caricature of our fears and tears. Every now and then, the “us” cries, but we have learned long ago to kill it before it convinces us again to put out guards down. And if we haven’t learned it so far, we will learn it this time. The smile, however, stays on – the show must go on.