This is not my real face…

This is not my real face. No, it’s not. My real face is not calm and expressionless under the worst pressures. My real face is not smiling when someone does something that hurts me. My real face is not laughing at the boring jokes made by my so-called friends and colleagues. No, my real face is contorted in pain. My real face is full of sadness. My real face bears anger, its frown lines like lightening in a thunderous sky. My real face is tired. Tired of making faces to mask what is really beneath.

Yes. I’m a pretender. I’m an actor. I’m a liar. I hide behind the mask that everyone sees. I cry. I scream. I ail. I rejoice all by myself behind the face that I wear because I’m afraid that someone might be jealous and try to steal my joy away. I hope. I wish. I pray. But no one sees because I’m scared that they’ll take that hope and whip me with it. I keep my true feelings safe from everything and everyone, lest they use them against me. Sometimes, I do it because I think it’s easier to be indifferent. But in my private moment, I give in to those emotions that I so want to be free to express. Aaarrrggh!

My real face questions why things don’t go the way I want them, it questions why everyone else has joy but me. My real face is envious, of the things others have that I want; the great job, the happy home, the beautiful kids, the love of a wonderful man… But still, I put up a ‘happy for you’ smile and rejoice with them in their joy. After all, God encourages us to rejoice with the happy. But He also encourages us to mourn with the sad. So, if no one knows my sadness, who will mourn with me? If everyone only sees the face that is not real, how do they know what’s ailing me?

I walk around like all is right with the world, like I have not a single worry. I float from one place to the other, singing hellos and shouting how-are-you’s like a butterfly making its rounds in the garden. “You look amazing!” they say. “Wait until you start having children” they taunt. “Life is treating you well” they quip. “Are you sure there’s no man in your life?” they mock. “You must be making a lot of money” they remark, albeit jealously. Underneath my smile, my real face hates the stress of my job, my real face dreads the loneliness of my quiet house where I live by myself. Underneath that façade, my real face mourns the baby I never had, the one I never gave my body the chance to swell with. My real face resents the fact that life and the stars didn’t align for these things to happen at the right time. What time is right really? That’s my real face asking…

When I look back on my life, I try to figure out where it all went wrong. At what point did I take that wrong turn? Was it when I decided to follow my heart? Or worse still, when I decided to follow my head? And how did I get so good at pretending, at hiding my feelings? How am I able to go on with no one having even the slightest clue that I’m this close to an emotional melt down? Brittle. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of my current state of mind. I feel like I might crack under the slightest pressure. My real face is calling for help. It’s asking for me to be saved from myself. Will someone please help me?

Oh I forgot. They can neither see nor hear me. Because this is not my real face…



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