Happiness. Safety. Love. Security. Peace. Respect. Acceptance. Enough food. Clean water. A warm home. These are the things every human being wants.
Except that one person. All he/she/they want is to make my life miserable. They don’t deserve those things. Or perhaps you’re thinking they’re not human. Their house is always freezing. They never eat. They’re silent and moody, they don’t want friends.
That’s what you’re thinking right now. And here’s the moment when you deny it. You say that makes you sound like an awful person, that maybe some people think like that but never you. No, never you.
Maybe you’re right. I don’t know you, after all. Maybe you really are a good person, who would never wish anything bad on anyone, or imagine that someone is worse than you. You sigh, thinking you’re in the clear. No one can know your thoughts after all, those are all yours.
It doesn’t matter what you think, as long as you’re careful never to say it out loud. You don’t show it either. You’re very careful about that. That way your thoughts can be free. No one can control those, even if they control the rest of your life.
What if those thoughts could be read? How many things would you stop thinking? What farther away would you tuck your feelings, knowing how dangerous they might be? How close to destroying all your relationships would those thoughts bring you?
Maybe it would be a relief. To have everyone you know know how you really feel about them. No more pretending. No more hiding. No more being what you’d rather not be.
You’d probably try to hide things anyway. It’s such a habit at this point, you don’t know how to be open and real anymore. Of course, if you told someone that they’d probably brush you off. You’re a very good pretender.
You never were, when you were a kid, preferring to color inside the lines and practice your colors and numbers and letters. Maybe that’s why you never had any friends. You were a quiet teacher’s pet. You didn’t mean to be. You just always felt guilty when you disappointed those around you. As you got older you started to change your priorities. It was no longer the most important thing to please your teachers. They didn’t have the most power anymore. The kids around you did.
And they were mean. It was a kid-eat-kid world. If you didn’t find yourself a gang, or find another way to protect yourself, you were a goner. Down the toilet, underwear over your head goner. So you did. You learned how to bluff your way out of a fight. You found a group of girls that you could laugh and talk and hang out with. All you really wanted to do was read and write, but that wasn’t cool. That would get you bullied. So the start of your acting career began.
You weren’t a real actor. You could barely get on stage without freezing up once or twice. But on the stage of life, you were a pro. You knew how to survive. Each person required a different face, and when you were with a group a careful blend of personalities was used to provide maximum and consistent falsities. No one ever questioned you, in fact, they applauded you on your deep and truthful character. You almost laughed when you were voted “Most honest”. Nearly everything you said was a lie, carefully crafted from shattered truths. Sometimes, those lies were so good you fooled yourself.
Those were always the most painful days. The ones where you seemed the happiest. The days where you had practiced your lies so well they rolled off your tongue and through your mind like the truth. Those were the days you didn’t eat, that you came home feeling like a train had hit you. When asked why you were so down, you just said, “It was a hard day at school.” It wasn’t a lie. It was just another shattered, half-truth.
The days went by, one after another, and you fought with yourself like a mental patient.
TELL SOMEONE! PLEASE TELL SOMEONE THAT YOU HAVE BEEN LYING! THAT YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THE TRUTH LOOKS LIKE ANYMORE! You begged yourself. Sometimes opportunities came, where you were alone with someone you knew was trustworthy. Like your favorite teacher, or your mother, or best friend. But being trustworthy and actually trusting them were two very different things. After all, you lied daily, sometimes without meaning to. How did you know that anybody else was who they claimed to be? No one was who they said they were, it was impossible.
Sometimes you caught yourself thinking these things, and you told yourself to lay off the dystopias and sci-fi. That’s the only place they could come from, where nothing was what it seemed and things that seemed good were actually bad and things that looked bad were good. You would never think that on your own. Other people, maybe. But never you. No, never you.
You worked to make those lies real. Maybe it would help you feel better. You stopped writing. You built up walls around your heart. You didn’t play sports, but blamed it on your mother around the sporty kids and said nothing about it around nerds. If anything adding truth to the lies made you feel worse. Like your whole life is a lie. Your body begs for you to tell someone, but you can’t. You must continue lying. It’s the only way to survive.
Everything you say and do is calculated. Every motion is practiced, every word rehearsed. You’re happy during the day. You laugh and smile, and no one suspects a thing. You cry yourself to sleep. You tell yourself it helps you release some of your fake, silly emotions. Plenty of people do it, it’s nothing new or different or special. You’ll get through it. There has to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Over the years, your lies just become deeper and deeper. You fall into depression. Your body begs you to tell someone your secrets, how everything you say is a lie, but that you don’t know the truth anymore. Still your brain insists on lying. It’s safe. It’s comfortable. It’s easy.
It’s killing you.