I am so tired of plastering a fake smile on my face, crying in the inside, keeping my tears at bay. I just need a few hours with someone who I think understands me, my life, who cares enough to ask me about my day. I am so lost most of the time, so alone … especially when surrounded by people.
But last night, I had the pleasure of reconnecting with some childhood, neighborhood friends and I found myself smiling, a genuine, sincere smile that starts at my heart and ends on my face.
Social media can be a good thing if used wisely. I reconnected with a beautiful brother and sister who will forever be my step bother and sister. Their Mom and my Dad dated while both were were separated. Fast forward 30 years …we met for dinner, laughter, reminisced, laughed some more. I went home with a genuine smile. It felt so nice. Even if fleeting. I get lucky and appreciate those rare moments when I feel connected, loved, cared for and my smile makes an appearance.
I have always suffered from smiling depression. Just put on a smile, brace myself, and get through the day. It wears me out though. Its exhausting. Constantly hiding my sadness, my palpable misery behind a happy mask just keeps me at arms length from most people. I get near but never fully close enough to someone. Always find myself on the periphery of their lives and even of my own.
The pain of getting close, of losing someone again, of struggling to get out of bed, the anxiety of learning how to breathe each minute of each day is too overwhelming most days. So I smile, lean in, and pretend just about every day.
I go to work, to the doctors, out to dinner … I take tons of photos …of my food, desserts … I dress up, put make up on, get my hair, nails done, take selfies. I am sure 90% of the time to the outside world, no one can see my struggle. How can they when I paint such a pretty picture?! I hold down a part-time job, run a family, stay active but that frayed tethering line of rope just barely visible to me at times – somehow keeps me going – all the while I suffer for the most part in silence with panic attacks, insomnia, crushing low self-esteem and even suicidal thoughts. I do share my story more these days, not like 10 years ago when I was too depressed to get out of bed, too weak to allow anyone in, before social media, before my blog. Now I vent, share, open myself up more. I work hard each and every day on trying to put myself out there. Even if depletes me by the end of the day.
I have learned to keep negative, self serving people at arm’s length and I find myself being more appreciative of the smaller, less tangible things. Gratitude really changed my life.
Sincerity, honesty, acceptance, sharing all have changed my life … so with tears in my eyes, smile on my face, hope in my heart, grace in my step … I move forward. Looking forward to reconnecting, finding my genuine smile.