I wiped my tears off my face. Trying hard to breathe normally.
Inhale, exhale. Yes, that’s it. Keep doing it until you breathe well again.
My nose stuffed, I was choked by my own tears, and my eyes burned. I could not put myself to sleep.
Being vulnerable was something I always preferred to do in solitude. I never wanted anyone to see me shed a tear. Not a drop of my tears shall anyone see.
Except for my sister and my best friends, but even so this was a rare occasion.
I simply loved keeping my personal issues behind the curtains. I’d been known as a Miss Sunshine. Not that I’d want to keep that nickname that bad. I was just used to that.
And yet, they would not stop. They could not stop. The tears kept on pouring down my face and I could do nothing to stop them.
And usually I wouldn’t let this happen. I would stop myself from feeling so much and force myself into a stoic state. I would laugh when problems showed up left and right, showing the world that they could not hurt me.
I would pretend to not know anything, to be ignorant and stupid, to protect myself from harm. And I would lead the world to believe that I was clueless just to spare myself some pride. Some dignity. Anything.
Because I was already wounded.
But whom was I trying to impress? I got nothing from being the mindless girl who could not care less about things. I got nothing.
I got mocked when I showed a tiny bit of weakness. I got criticized when I let down my guard for a minute.
“It’s out of your character to complain.”
And I just said a simple, “I am a bit tired.”
People would come to me when they needed someone to talk to. They would talk for hours about their problems and conflicts. Then after few hours of talking, they’d ask the moment I got up to leave, “So how are you?”
Because how I was doing wasn’t anyone’s concern.
And it was understandable. I was the strong one, after all.
But the strong may fall. And sometimes, they bleed more. They had been strong for so many people, but when they fell down, those people they supported wouldn’t lend a hand.
They simply turned away, refusing to look at the strong who had fallen.
Like a subtle mockery, a firm reminder on who truly mattered. Themselves.
And we got up, brushed it off, and walked away. We held it in, anger and sadness, depression and frustration, and put on a smile. We laughed off this incident as if it was nothing. As if it didn’t hurt us.
But it did, every time.
Perhaps, it was our fault. Perhaps it was our fault to not put ourselves first. To think that our happiness meant ego. Perhaps it was just how we were since the beginning, and perhaps it was never our place to complain or show weakness of any kind.
But I hear you. I can hear you. And you me.
So this is for you who feel this. For those of you who smile and laugh, hiding your pain and misery, trying to be strong for others who do not understand or appreciate you.
You are not alone.
When you are hugging yourself tight in your bed, fighting back tears, haunted by your lonely battle, remember that someone out there feels just that as well.
We have tried to do what we believe to be right, what seems best for everyone. And in the process, we hurt ourselves and slowly numb our hearts.
Maybe, just maybe, it is our fault.
And perhaps now is about the right time we get up and fight for our own happiness.