You can’t move.
The alarm that is buzzing next to you signals that the day is ready for you.
But there’s one problem: you aren’t ready for the day.
Come on, now. There’s no time for this.
You promised you’d have breakfast with your best friend.
Maybe lunch with an old friend that you have not seen in years.
Spending the evening going to the gym, like you have been planning to do for ages.
After that, you can end the day with your family as is expected of you.
So many things to do today.
Today is not the day to fail.
So you push yourself up against your bed.
Reaching to silence the alarm, you ignore the notifications on your phone.
You’re not ready, you still have time before you start dealing with the world.
You know the drill.
Feet on the ground, you know there’s no turning back now.
As you brush your teeth, you try to remember why you need to do this.
Your teeth are an important ingredient to the disguise you wear.
It complements the smile you carve on your face.
When was the last time you smiled at yourself?
Smiles weren’t made for your own benefit, but for the ones of those around you.
Your smile makes being around you a little easier.
Everyone says it’s a beautiful one, more pleasant to the eyes than when you are without it.
As the water runs over you, it aches even more.
Your body rebels against your paralyzed interior.
As long as your external organs look presentable, perhaps people won’t see how dysfunctional your internal organs are.
Maybe they will never know how your heart, gut and mind are in a perpetual state of paralysis.
Let’s pick some clothes out.
No, you can’t wear your pajamas. Not even your favourite home clothes.
Doing that will signal the alarms. They will start asking, poking.
There- wear that one. It’s not too tight, you can still breathe.
Don’t worry about the hair or the face. The most important mask to have on is your smile.
You got this.
Out the door it is!
Time to wear the coat of happiness.
Be guarded enough to hide the pieces of you that are dark and ugly, and let your guard down enough to make people feel like they know you truly.
Cheat someone who knows nothing into thinking they know everything.
Only then you are safe from their questions, solutions and judgements.
“Maybe I should tell someone...”
Nah. Maybe not. These are your chains. You deserve them.
Look at the time.
Finally- your day is done.
That was a good run, wasn’t it?
You made everyone laugh, you brought cheer to their days.
It was indeed a job well done, the mask has served you well.
You performed on your stage, and they have given you the standing ovation you needed.
You rush to peel off the layers you have painted over your skin throughout the day.
You remove the smiles, the default happy content folder in your mind, the memorized body language sequences.
Things that you have successfully made everyone believe was the “real” you.
What would they think? Seeing you like this without all your layers?
They won’t see. They won’t know. They won’t understand. They won’t help.
You pull your duvet over yourself.
What are you protecting yourself from? The scariest thing already made a home inside you.
Tears stream down your cheeks as you lay in a comfortable paralysis, a routine you now know by heart.
Try to sleep now.
It begins again.