I had a classmate in Philosophy once. He wasn’t the brightest, but he was very perceptive. He accused me of being two-faced. Not batting an eyelash, I asked why. There you go, he said. Apparently, my face remained impassive but for a split second, my eyes narrowed. The same guy noted that when I smile, my smile didn’t really reach my eyes. It could only mean I wasn’t really happy. I laughed him off on both occasions. You’re imagining things was what I said. But he was right.
People who think they know me, they perceive me as strong willed, unafraid, unwavering. Being called names doesn’t bother me at all. I think it’s a compliment. I would never be caught crying in public. I scoff at any display of emotions. To the untrained eye, I would smile even if my toe nail, or my heart, is breaking. I revel in the anonymity my sham afforded me. No one could ever use my emotions against me. Emotions make people weak; it also hamper critical thinking. I could lick the fire and dance in the ashes of every bridge I ever burned. Normal people wince, I would be smiling. I guess I took The Godfather characters too seriously.
The people close to me know better. They know I do cry at movies, especially anything involving pets. I may look malevolent but I’m actually nice, I don’t eat people. I actually smile! When I do, I’ve been told I have a great smile. I wish I can smile often and not think that I look like a cretin.
It’s not a surprise that my so called apathy carried on to my romantic relationships. I sometimes liken them to chess, or poker. I never let on what I truly feel right away. I see all the moves in my mind. I don’t like putting all my eggs in one basket. I know myself well enough that my heart is fragile. Yes, I am sensitive, but not everyone is privy to that information. I never really experienced a gut-wrenching heartbreak. I still get hurt, I’m human after all. Whatever hurts I felt, I could easily shake them off. I build blocks in the hopes that someone would be brave enough to break them.
And someone did. He didn’t only break the blocks, he demolished the wall I built. It took me awhile to fully open up. I had to trust him. Trusting someone fully meant giving them power over you, and that would make me vulnerable. It was a scary prospect. Vulnerability was an alien concept to me, but I was all for trying new things. If he can be brave, why can’t I? I took a leap of faith. It was liberating to be finally who I really was, feel what I want to feel, say the things I want to say.
You know what they say, some good things never last. We broke up. I was in unrelenting pain. Depressed took on a deeper meaning — it felt like being sucked into an abyss. I never fully understood the word until I was living in it. Hell was loving him in my sleep and waking up alone. I went to war for what we had, he never even put on his boots. I was broken; he broke me. I was in love and love died. The state he left me in wasn’t pain I can see myself having the strength to face again. I wasn’t impervious after all.
I thought I’d never be right after that. It didn’t help that I became reclusive and cut everyone off. I needed to find myself again. Nobody could help me. I had to hoist myself up. When you hit rock bottom, there is only one way to go but up. The only reason I’m still here is not because I’m strong—I’m crazy and stubborn. I simply refused to wither away.
And so the walls went up again. Not as strong I hoped, but standing. I started to feel like my old self. It does get lonely sometimes, but at least I’m not sad. I still have an aversion to feelings, but it wasn’t as bad as before. I’ve learned not to care about the mundane, but only about things that set my soul on fire. In the end, all I really want is to have a completely adventurous, passionate, weird life. But don’t we all?