The worst thing about masks when you’re astute, aware, intuitive to emotions others are experiencing –
Eyes are a window to the soul, they say. You give yourself away when your Eyes don’t tell the same story as your words. Squint, wink, blink, raise eyebrows.
So when I tell you how I’ve been feeling lately, you hide your worry from your voice, under your mask, but I see it in your eyes. I know you want to ask, I know you want to cry, you care, you’re concerned – how could I ever think I wanted to die? You stay strong, but I feel your emotion inside all because of your soft, sad eyes.
The mask makes them pop, I can’t help but notice. I feel worse knowing you’re worried; you have enough on your plate and now – oh wait – here’s one more thing.
Your eyes gave away what you tried to hide. The worst thing about masks is your eyes are magnified. I can see right through them, you’re terrified – I’m sorry I’ve become a burden.
I have to repeat these words to myself on a daily basis recently.
I’ve been posting a lot of poems lately. Not every single one I’ve written, but a good chunk of them. It’s annoying because I want to save them and try and publish a poetry chapbook of my own, but I think there’s power in sharing an emotional struggle to ensure that no one ever truly feels alone in the battle with their own mental health. I feel that when we try harder to hide it from everyone, it’s when we feel the most alone and that we are a burden to those who love us.
I’ve uttered those words to my therapist a few times. “I feel like I’m becoming a burden.” It’s the anxiety/depression talking, I know. She’ll ask in response, “Who told you that you’ve become a burden?” and I have to admit that nobody has said it, that’s just how it feels. It’s crazy what a sick brain can convince you of.
On the outside she looks like she’s barely trying.
On the inside she feels like she’s slowly dying.
When would someone see the signs of a broken girl who’s running out of time?
Her mind – a hive of soul-killing ideas that she’s unworthy, unlovable, unwanted, undeniably unnecessary to anyone.
Check on your friends who smile through pain. Check on your friends who work hard to maintain some semblance that everything’s always okay come rain, come sun, come cloudy day –
for the face they wear is but a mask glue-filled cracks waiting for someone to finally ask “be honest, please, are you okay?” so they can admit “it’s all a display; i’m so damn tired of being awake, desperately looking to finally escape.”
I woke up this morning mad because a God who answers prayers didn’t answer mine.
I woke up this morning mad because God gave me more breaths than I wanted.
I woke up this morning mad because God said not yet.
I’m not asking desperately to die, and I’m not going to actually try but everyday I ask God why I can’t seem to feel him nearby. I don’t know how much more I can cry. I’m tired of looking up to the sky waiting for a reply, waiting for him to notify
me that it’s going to be okay someday and these troubled times are just a pathway to greatness that lies beyond what I can see, but right now I just want to be free – just not in a way that’s up to me.
I’m sorry for venting when you wanted quiet. I’m sorry for crying instead of just being silent. I’m sorry for thinking I had your shoulder to lean on. I’m sorry for relying on the vows we agreed on. I’m sorry for asking you to feel some emotion. I’m sorry for hoping you’d have a solution.
I’ll just go back to keeping to myself now that I know you don’t want to help.
I struggle a lot with extremely high expectations of myself, holding myself to unreasonably high standards, needing a lot of validation from others to think I’m not literally the worst teacher, employee, friend, wife, person, etc. It’s hard to live in my head some days, especially this year where we teachers have had to stop and adjust our entire teaching methodology to continue educating in a pandemic.
This post is hard for me to write, because every way I attempt to phrase my frustration makes it sound I’m just a sore loser and I’m not happy for others, and honestly none of that is true. I am not going to share this post on my social media because I don’t need the whispers of my coworkers in the hallway or family members at gatherings spreading half-truths. I just have feelings and words and my they didn’t feel sufficient in my journal.