There are so many reasons to close yourself off to the world.
You don’t want people to worry. You want your space and privacy. You have an image to maintain. You don’t want to drag people down.
So you cover your heart with armor to keep everyone out.
You protect yourself.
You’re the fun girl. The laid-back girl. The girl with no story.
You float by on “I’m good, thanks” and smiles and always being a good time, dissolving into self-doubt and self-loathing as soon as you’re alone.
But eventually that armor can’t protect you any more.
It rusts thanks to the poison in your thoughts and the worries and fears coming from your head. You do anything to shut them out.
You destruct. You feel the heat across your skin. The growl and moan of an empty stomach. The numbness of an altered mind and the sickness the next day.
You pull yourself down into a place where your thoughts fight more viciously than they did before, where you think and feel too much, where you just want to be numb.
But there comes a time when you can’t fight alone anymore. You’ve got battle scars in different forms, and they sting all over. You can’t drown or burn those thoughts anymore.
There comes a time when you need to give an honest answer when faced with the question of “How are you?”
There comes a time:
When the words that have been caught at the edge of your tongue and at the tips of your fingers need to spill out.
When you need to free yourself from the armor crushing your heart.
When you need to recognize that your thoughts, your feelings, and your story all matter. That you matter.
You might think you aren’t hurting enough. That people are worse off than you, have fought themselves more, or have been through more. They’ve self-injured, slept, drunk, starved, tried to die. You might think your story isn’t significant enough when you compare it to those. Maybe, your brain suggests, you are just seeking attention.
There is no precision measurement for pain. You don’t have to reach a scale or number to be worthy of help or love. Everyone feels and copes and hurts differently. Never be afraid it’s not enough.
No matter where you are in your story or what it looks like, it means something. Your pain is important because it’s yours.
You need to teach yourself that your voice matters and that people want to listen.
When I opened up I realized that there were people who wanted to be let in. Who wanted to know who I was. They didn’t just want to know the laid-back girl with no story. They wanted to know the girl with dreams and fears and hopes and regrets and pain and love in her life.
You deserve to show the world the whole spectrum of your being – the light and the dark and everything in-between. Each shade of you should be illuminated. The more you try to hide or cover different shades of yourself, the more they fight against you.
And when, one day, you finally give an honest answer to that ominous question of “How are you?” you’ll find that sometimes you get a reply of “Hey, me too.”
Your story can help other people continue their stories. Yes, all pain is different. But there are things that we all share when the darkness comes and we feel hopeless. And it’s our similarities that can save us.
Your experiences of drowning out your thoughts can help someone else who is trying to do the same. After all, you understand the reasons why they’d want to forget those thoughts, regardless of which technique they choose.
We humans are made of stardust. It makes sense that we should constellate and come together with our shared experiences.
By telling your story, you stop the poison seeping in your mind. You free yourself from the rusting armor around your heart.
Saying the words “I’m not doing so great” doesn’t mean you’re a burden, or tiresome, or exhausting. It’s a part of being alive. Every emotion is. Joy. Hurt. Pain. Love. Hope. Fear. It’s all there to be felt, to be experienced.
You are a being. You are. You exist. You contribute. You breathe. You love. You fight. You hurt. You feel.
And because of all this, because you exist, you matter.
So let the world see the person with a story that deserves to be told.
Your pain isn’t a burden.
You are a being, not a burden.