It happened again. An underhanded comment, off the cuff but sharp and succinct and it sank deeper than it probably meant to. I should know by now. I’ve heard enough of them. I shrink under the weight and flinch ever so slightly and hide behind a smile. And I know I should shake it off and move on, and I do, outwardly … but on the inside? What they don’t see? Yeah. That’s not pretty. What is it, I wonder, that gives us license to judge, to proclaim facts unproven, make statements that may not even come close to the truth, about someone we think we know, when really, we know nothing about them at all? Where does that train stop? Because I gotta tell you, when you think someone’s got it all going on, got the perfect life, the perfect spouse, some amazing kids and a house ripped from the pages of Better Homes and Gardens … look a little closer.
And I’ll let you in on a secret …
There’s no such thing as perfect.
No such thing as a sure thing either. Except we buy it. Lord, how we buy it. We believe the lies the world feeds us and we think there are these perfect people out there living perfect lives and what the heck is wrong with us that we can’t be one of them? Seriously. So we try. We put on shining smiles to fool, pull on designer clothes we can’t afford, and preen in front of broken mirrors. We pretend friendships with folks we can’t stand, laugh at jokes that make us sick, and say things that simply roll off the tongue without a second thought until the words are said, and we’re shrinking inside. You know? I know.
And what they don’t see? Yeah. Maybe I don’t have to tell you what they don’t see because you already know. You know about the tears too close to trembling out, the heart that beats too fast and won’t slow down no matter how many deep breaths you take. You know how to self-medicate, whatever your pleasure, you know … you know it won’t help but dammit you do it anyway. And you know the fear of saying one wrong word or breaking the silence and not knowing what might follow. You know insecurity. You know shame. You know loneliness like the back of your hand but you laugh and joke and play the game, and nobody is ever the wiser. You know.
What you don’t know is how to break the cycle.
How to step out of the shadows, open the door and walk into more than what you believe you’re destined for. What you don’t know is what would happen if you did.
If you dared …
If you dared admit you’re looking through a broken mirror years old and you can’t see the real you anymore … but you want to. Oh, how you want to. You want it more now than you’ve ever wanted anything.
Help me. Help me see that there is more. That I am more.
And maybe its a whispered prayer into darkness of deep night. Maybe you don’t even know who or what you’re praying to, but there has to be something … someone … there has to be more.
What they don’t see? The ones who judge and think they know how it is for you, what they don’t see?
The real story. The real you. The broken pieces.
You … sitting amidst the shards from the shattered wreckage of what you thought would be the dream come true life you’d always wanted. Deserved. Until it blew up in your face. And you don’t even know how you got here. So how in the hell are you supposed to know how to get out?
There are stories here … So many stories.
Desperate lives, desperate souls simply trying to make sense of situations they never expected to find themselves in. These stories? These are the stories I write. The stories I feel deep inside, with an ache I couldn’t explain if I tried. These are the tales that tell the truth of how it really is. How it really feels to struggle. How it feels to fight for every new day and the chance to start over. And yeah, it hits close to home. Sometimes too close. But I write it all down anyway.
What they don’t see? What you don’t see? Those characters I create? They might be me. They might be you. Imperfect, flawed, chewing on a bit of bitterness but pushing forward anyway, risking it all on the road to getting real. To getting healed. Because if they don’t? If we don’t?
The world wins.
And there’s no victory in that.
So I write. And you read and resonate and we promise each other not to judge, but to proceed with caution, with care. And maybe, just maybe, if we all try a little harder, we’ll find the love we need, the grace to glue those broken pieces back together. And maybe that’s the kind of happy ending worth fighting for. That’s my kind of story. I hope it’s yours too.
Two lives taken down different roads – one enduring love – one shot at starting over. If only they believed in second chances.