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I’m really good… like REALLY good. Good in terms of what you might ask? Good in terms of “faking” it. Or hiding underneath perfection… but, you know, the kind of perfection that doesn’t ACTUALLY exist. Or you know, maybe I’m not good at hiding it as well as I thought I was. In any case, I am good at convincing myself that I’m good. I’m good at not causing problems, I’m good at not voicing my opinion, and I’m good at not really being…well….me at times.

Let's rewind here. Picture this: A girl who couldn’t be alone. A girl who became overstimulated quickly. A girl that held back every tear. A girl that had so much pain inside her, that needed to be let out. A girl who said a million words a second. A girl who went from a million to zero in a matter of seconds, while the world dissipated around her. You get it. She didn’t have an escape from her mind. She sat there in her new room, taking it in. Across the room was the door. The door was cracked open just enough to know she wasn’t alone. Isolating herself just enough so nobody would “know what she was thinking”. Because people can read your mind apparently. A tear rippled down her face, and she panicked. It wasn’t just all in her head, it was now external. These thoughts have a reaction, so therefore, they are true. She needed something, or someone to distract herself from emotions. She briskly walked into the living room to find her only source of comfort, sitting there in the tufted tan chair. A widowed and warm hearted woman, that radiated an abundance of comfort. They spent hours talking, watching reality TV, and eating Papa John's pizza. Sometimes its the little things. Sometimes these little things keep you alive.

Okay…Now picture this: The same girl. But this time she's sitting in front of her mirror doing her makeup and hair. Covering up her lifeless face, with a mask. Smoothing her hair to perfection, so nobody would ask any questions. She hears the garage door open and the car drive away through her slightly cracked door of her bedroom . The house was empty. But her brain, not so empty. Her world stopped as she stood up to pace around the empty house. Where was she? What was she doing here alone? And… Who is she?? Her heart started pounding faster. Her brain started working harder. She sat down, so her legs didn't give out. No wait, she couldn’t. She had to be moving. What was happening, and why was she running out of air? Next thing you know, she is curled up on the floor. Face against the musty carpet. Her hand shakes as she reaches for her phone. HUMAN INTERACTION. “Mom?” she pleated. Her mom didn’t know what was happening, and neither did she. Tears streamed down her face, sweat dripping from her body. She opened the front door to get air. TIme passed, and she finally caught her breath. But wait, she is going to be late. And she can’t do that. She can’t lose her “perfect girl” reputation. She began biking, and 2 minutes away from the destination…BOOM! There she sat on the ground staring at her tipped over bike on the side of the road. Fuck it. Fuck it all. What happened to that mask she put on earlier that morning? It can’t come off. So, there she went, riding her bike and continuing the day just like everything was okay. Everything was not okay. She was not okay.

Fast forward two years: Going through the motions... every day. Who? What? When? WHY did that happen??? Eh, doesn’t matter I guess. Deep down though, it matters. It matters a whole lot. Suppressed emotions turned into behaviors. Behaviors turned into a cry for help. But why was she crying for help in the first place? She doesn't understand. Time went on, and no emotions were felt, other than euphoria. Life is great… maybe a little TOO great.

Okay back it up. She’s not so great anymore. No more euphoria. She had no purpose, no ambition. It was ripped off like a bandaid. The hollowness grew, and grew, and grew. The hollowness grew larger than her body, and took her over. But somehow, she kept going. She kept showing up. She kept going through life, just to exist.

Turns out, you can’t do that. Now here I am writing this to say, I hope you never let the hollow take you over, and instead you take IT over. Easier said than done.

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