You never used to be like this. You were a nice person. People liked you. You were kind to your parents, you respected everyone, you did not walk through this world hating everything. What happened?
The days and nights have blended into one. Faces pass you by but nothing registers. Ugh, why are there so many people here. You catch yourself off guard for a moment but that feeling soon passes. You never used to be like that, walking down the street bitter at the world. Your parents and friends start to take note, they mention it in passing but like everything else, you just ignore it. They don’t know what they’re talking about. As the days go by it becomes harder to identify when the transformation started and before you know it, you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror. Who’s that person staring back? They look so familiar and yet resemble a stranger. The once soft and welcoming face has hardened from a mixture of stress, anxiety, and fear; the eyes have aged in a way that no longer emanates warmth towards others but instead are dark and hollow, vacant to the core. Take a step back. What happened to turn you into this? Who are you?
You’re growing up, this is who you are now. If people can’t accept it, tough for them.
There was a time when you wouldn’t stop smiling. No matter how much the universe tried to pull you down, you would look at it straight in the eye and tell it to leave you alone, and it worked. This method worked for a long time. Years in fact. Every obstacle placed in your way, you would soar through it. Outsiders saw you as an inspiration, a light in their bonfire hearts. The high you got from being around others, making them happy, brightening their days was something that was incomparable. Dawn was your calling, dusk was you nirvana and everything in-between was Wonderland. So what happened? My life was far from perfect but I was dealing, I was handling it. I faked happiness until it became real. Where did I go wrong?
Maybe it was when your sibling was going through a hard time and your parents recruited you for suicide watch. Maybe it was when you got another bad grade after studying for days and weeks on-end for that test. Maybe it all went wrong between keeping your friends afloat and you parents sane while trying to get that 4.0 GPA and ward off the debt collectors. Maybe you were so busy looking out for others that you lost yourself in the process. One day you woke up and stopped. The bonfire went out and all that was left behind were ashes. One morning you turned off your wake up alarm, stared out the window, groaned, and promptly turned over and stayed in the bed. With no explanation, you become one with your bed covers. It started off with a few extra minutes with your new acquaintance, then an hour, a day. Before you know it, a month and a half had gone by and someone is banging on your door. You look around your once, tidy, perfect, well-organized room and see nothing but chaos. Clothes scattered all over the place. Course-work in all directions and plates pilled to the ceiling.
How did this happen? I swear I only shut my eyes for a minute. A minute is all it takes.
That person you were seeing? They’ve lost interest. You’re not what they expected, you’re closed off, unwelcoming, always on edge. The animation and the bubbly personality that filled your bones has gone flat. The traits that once attracted others are long to be found. Can’t seem too enthusiastic, he doesn’t seem to be like that. Don’t text, can’t seem to clingy. Oh wait, it’s been 3 days of silence. Am I that easy to forget? Flashbacks flood your mind. Forgotten, again. Who are you speaking of? I don’t remember her. She isn’t someone worth remembering. One of your deepest fears is coming back to light. You’re always the best-friend, the listener, the one that they can count on, but you’re never the one worth remembering. The last guy you spoke with cut off all communication because you wouldn’t sleep with him. 7 years of friendship, gone in a blink of an eye. The one before that? Good communication and then one day, radio silence. No explanation, no reasoning. Just forgotten. Before that? Forgotten again and this time whenever you ran into each other, they didn’t even acknowledge your existence. For 8 months. The pain became so unbearable that you changed your bus route, your job, your life. Your heart gets heavy even thinking about it. Well, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that he lost interest. It’s what happens. This is what I’m used to. I am the one that gets forgotten.
It’s getting harder to get out of that bed.
It’s the end of the semester and final marks have been released. You’re back home with your parents, already feeling the walls closing in around you. You want to be excited that your back but the truth is, you hate it there. You feel trapped, none of your friends are left, you have no mode of transport, and the only company you have are your pets (and let’s face it, they only love you for your food). You go and check the university website. You did fairly well but that one class that you were killing yourself over, failed to deliver. You just missed your goal GPA and the medical schools will notice. You frantically try to search for answers but deep down you know it’s because you weren’t smart enough. Clever enough. Who am I kidding? I’ll never make it into med school.
Maybe a little nap will make this all go away.
The face in the mirror may have become a stranger but that doesn’t mean that it has to stay that way. You can go back. You can change everything because at the end of the day, the person you saw before and the one in front of you now all came from the same place. You may not be as animated and fire-starting as you used to be but that doesn’t mean that that part isn’t still there. It’s just buried a little deeper. You can go back and get it. You may need help along the way but that’s alright.
Still struggling to accept that help from other does not signify weakness, but in fact strength in recognizing that you needed it.
This is your life. Crawl out of bed. Go and get it back. It will be hard, possibly one of the hardest things you’ve ever had to do but that’s fine. Go. Be great. Be animated. Be a face in the mirror that you recognize and like.
And whatever you do, don’t stop, don’t turn around, don’t look back.