Be Kind

"be kind, for everyone you meet
is fighting a hard battle." - plato

My entire life, I've been stubborn & independent. I can do things on my own; I don't need help from anyone. I can honestly count on one hand the number of people who have ever seen me cry. My life is perfect and I'm always happy. Many refer to me as "Little Miss Sunshine."

And if my career as a graphic designer doesn't work out, I could most definitely be an actress.

I honestly don't know why I've always felt the need to keep everything to myself, bottling up my emotions and pretending that everything is okay. Perhaps it's because the world preconditions us with the Boy Meets World notion of "Life's tough. Get a helmet," or my personal favorite, "Suck it up, be a man, & rub some dirt on it!" (She's the Man, anyone?) Perhaps it's because I think that if I can fool the rest of the world into believing that I have a golden book life, maybe I'll believe it as well. Or perhaps letting the walls down and allowing people to see who we really are is terrifying. People are quick to judge someone so flawed, so vulnerable, so... human.

So I've gotten really good at hiding behind those walls, ignoring the warnings of "it's not good to keep everything locked inside" and "one of these days, everything is just gonna come crashing down..." I didn't need to talk to anyone. I could deal with things on my own. I had a perfect life reputation to live up to, and I wasn't about to compromise it by opening up to someone.

It sounds really stupid, doesn't it?

It goes without saying that this has been the most miserable semester of my life. Actually, it's probably been the most miserable year of my life. So many emotional ups & downs, twists & turns. Everyone else is off enjoying college, and there are weeks straight where I'm crying my eyes out in my dorm room every single day.

And what have I learned from it?

When I finally broke down about a month & a half ago and opened up to a small, select group of people, I was shocked to find how vulnerable they were with me, revealing imperfections & emotions that they, too, had been hiding from the world. So many similar situations, so many feelings to which I could relate.

According to C.S. Lewis, "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" I've had a lot of those moments, recently... with people that I've been friends with for a number of years. It's funny, though, how our relationship has strengthened since we've allowed ourselves to truly open up around one another. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one :)

Which brings me back to the original point. Yes, I may simply attract friends who are dealing with a bunch of crap and keep it all bottled up inside just like myself. But I'm willing to bet that we're not the only ones. I'm willing to bet that deep down, underneath all the secrets and walls, even the most seemingly happy Little Miss Sunshine is fighting a hard battle.

So always be kind.