Today’s prompt is about the public face we present versus what we know inside – the gulf between what we show and what is real.
Grieving people speak a secret language. If you’ve lost someone, you know how it feels. If you haven’t, then you can’t imagine it. Not truly. People on the outside make guesses, but those guesses are usually more about how they want you to feel, not how you actually feel. Those guesses are based on projections, and also on the masks we wear to protect ourselves.
We often put on our “public” face when we go out, hiding private pain behind a tight mask of “I’m fine, thanks,” and hurried attempts to get out of interactions. There is so much we do not say. So much hidden behind that public numbness, or that polite and clipped response. But inside, there is so much more: howling and punching, pounded by grief. So much is hidden below the public surface.
If you could tell people something, tell them what is true, what is true about grief and love and loss, something they do not know, or can’t know, what would it be? If you could address them, what would be said?*
I would tell them about the constant begging and pleading that goes on inside of me.
I am standing in front of the ocean watching the sun come up, sipping my coffee and on the inside my heart is begging. “Please show up for me today. Please find a way to show me that you’re with me, that you can see me, that you can hear me. This is too hard without you. Is there a way for you to come back?”
There’s a pleading and longing for a different outcome. I want things to be the way they used to be.
My therapist told me a few weeks ago, “it’s okay to be in the missing of your parents.”
I never knew missing someone can be a place but it’s the only place I live right now.
The love and relationship I had with my parents didn’t go anywhere. Now I have this love that lives inside of me in the form of rage. I stay calm and collected on the outside but on the inside I’m screaming and demanding and choking.
I only allow myself to scream on the inside. Inside of myself is where the darkest parts of my sadness lives.
But I look fine.
I’m applying sunscreen to my face.
I’m going for bike rides.
Underneath all the acts of living is my truest truth, that I’m a child, lost without her parents, convinced that if I just stay exactly where I am, they will know where to find me.
My inner child has become the only inner world I know right now.
Ma and ta, can you hear me when I beg for you every day ? Do you feel my pain ? I’m sorry if you do. My pain is my love for you.