How many pieces of myself can I give to others, before there is just nothing left?

It is amazing to me how our emotions shut off to send us into survival mode. We can go about the day, completely numb, to breaking open the second we get to the door of our homes. Maybe the body is just regenerating from water loss. I will never know.

Equally amazing, is the daunting thought of publishing this, even though few will ever find it. It makes me want to scream, how we must oppressed our negative emotions in the face of society. I just want to state that I am not ok, not today. Why is it unprofessional to say, “Hey guys, I am sorry I am not performing my best today. I am hurt, and so distracted by all the different scenarios constantly running through my head of what I could have changed. Thanks for your patience.”

Would our society be completely different, if vulnerability was acceptable? Or is the epitome of vulnerability that it needs to be contained? We are only allotted a couple people to open ourselves up to. It is not possible to be vulnerable for everyone, that would be excessive, selfish… uncomfortable for your audience.

Why do we tolerate a social format where everyone is flaunting the best of their life? We dehumanize the experience of living to a drastic extent. It is not only acceptable, but expected that we should post to complete strangers that we are in love, excited, or accomplished. Oh you feel so happy today that there isn’t room for any other emotion in your tiny body right now? Better post about it. And yet when the opposite feeling takes over, leaving us crumpled on the ground, we need to hide. It would be completely inappropriate to share that we are hurting. It would be attention seeking, too much information. I am tired of this discrepancy.

I am tired of the lies we are fed everyday through omission. Omission of what the days that take us between our posted peaks look like. Yes, I know I can opt out of those lies at any time, all I would have to do is delete the apps. But I don’t think thats enough for me. I want a conversation. I want to know if it is possible to find a balance. We praise people for their honesty about their hardships, but only when they are out on the other side of the tunnel. Then it is no longer a story of pain, it is a story of success. The heroism dramatically distances the story teller from anyone who may still be hiding their pain, pain we aren’t allowed to show.

I just couldn’t help but wonder all day how many people I encountered who knew I was not ok. How many people did I fool? How many fooled me? And if I had known they were hurting, what could I have said? How do I know if they wanted help? I  know that if someone asked me if I was ok today, really asked me because they could tell I was not, I would have instantly burst into tears. I didn’t want that. I assume they wouldn’t either. But is that a trained reaction because we are taught to be embarrassed by such a raw display of feeling?

My intention in writing this, in posting it, is not in hope that as many people as possible tell me they love me and want me to feel better. I have close friends and family who are already doing that. I just need to express it. I want to take a stab at balancing the playing field, even if it’s only an imperceptible fraction. As an elementary school art specialist, I tell my students that expression is the most powerful thing we have as individuals, as humans. It is what sets us apart from everyone else. Art is synonymous with expression. It changes the world when we utilize this magic. How much of the world has shifted because of social media? Our expressing has become dangerously biased toward only the positive end of the spectrum. I think we do ourselves a disservice by hiding the valleys that gave our mountains their high summits in the first place. It would be nice to stop hiding the lows. Maybe it would make us realize that its ok to be struggling. It’s ok to be confused in life, to have to put effort into relationships, to be strapped for cash, to feel lonely sometimes. Not just ok, but necessary. These pieces of us aren’t post-able because they aren’t glamorous. But they are worth so much more than the perfect days because they shape us… isn’t that also worth celebrating?


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