I’m sensitive. My emotions are raw. And I cry like a baby at those animal cruelty commercials. The Fault In Our Stars fucked me up. And I get way too attached to characters in books. But I put my wall up. And I avoid letting anyone know how crazily emotional I am. I always thought people would think of me as weak. So, I act like a bitch. I pretend I don’t care. And I don’t let anyone see the real me.
Lately, I’ve been going out a lot. My friends convinced me to go to a bar, and since that first night, I’ve been every weekend. I’ve drank myself stupid. Why? I couldn’t tell you. Maybe it’s because when I drink, I don’t think about how much I hate myself. Or all of the struggles I’m facing on a day to day basis. Or the fact that I’m now 22 and divorced. Or my dead dad’s 50th birthday on Tuesday. I drink and I drink and I drink, until I can’t feel anymore. But that’s not the real me.
The real me sits at home on Friday night, watching PJ Masks with my son, and teaching him the ABC’s. The real me experiments in the kitchen and imagines what it would be like to own a restaurant. I reread my favorite books. I trip and stumble over my own feet. I fold laundry until my hands hurt. I spend hours planning out my house remodel, just to trash every idea. I watch Fixer Upper and Grey’s Anatomy repeats. I lay awake at night wishing I could find my McDreamy, wishing I had someone to lift me up and encourage me.
The real me doodles and pretends to be an artist. I research new music every night but still manage to listen to the same playlist every morning on my way to work. I dance as I get dressed. And I go through five outfits before resorting back to the original ensemble I picked out. I’m the type to pick out heels, but wind up wearing flats or sandals because I absolutely hate heels and have no idea why I want to wear them. I set my alarm for 5am with every intention of going for a run and making a morning smoothie and getting to work early, but hit snooze for two hours and show up late.
I spend every free minute I have with my sister and her family, because they give me hope that one day I’ll have what they have. I sit in their living room and cry to them about feeling so alone and broken. How I feel like I’m fucking up my son. So, my sister keeps an emergency bag of chocolate chips in the cabinet. They listen to my bitching and whining and love me anyway. They assure me this won’t be forever. Because they know the real me.
The real me dreams of Washington D.C. Attending Georgetown. Traveling the world. Going on adventures. Proving to my family that I really am made for big things. Like helping the needy, researching and curing diseases, discovering new things, learning about different cultures, and making a damn good life for myself and my kid.
I imagine building a home with the person that chooses me and Jack. I see myself writing and photographing everything around me. I see myself reaching out to others with this awful disease we call depression, speaking at conferences, and changing lives. I see myself becoming everything I never thought I would. Everything I feel is impossible right now, maybe it’s not.
At this moment in time, I’m not the real me. I’m masked by a shadow of fear and self-doubt, and making tremendous and unbelievable mistakes. I would blame the alcohol, but the real me knows that it’s not the alcohol. It’s the fear of facing the truth.
The truth is that I’m sensitive. My emotions are raw. I cry, I get attached, and I care more than anyone realizes. I make mistakes, I fumble, I put up a wall. I push away people I love in order to protect myself. I tell myself I’m okay when I’m not. I’m scared to death to live. But I’m even more scared to not live.
That’s the real me.