But I can’t. I have to be back in the meeting in five minutes.
So I fake the pain. I’m good at this.
After all, I’m getting paid to be strong. Lawyers aren’t weak, and they certainly don’t cry during meetings. And it’s not like my pain makes me special. It just makes me normal.
For 30 seconds – before I re-enter the meeting – I argue with God. What kind of God allows pain to be normal?
Why God do you put us in this skin and allow this charade to continue? Is this really want you want? For your children to wear masks. And is everyone around me faking it too?
One in four people will suffer from mental illness in the course of a year.
Over 40% of people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetimes.
The unemployment rate is approaching double digits (and men are 45% more likely to lose their jobs than women).
Of course we’re not fine. No one is exempt. But just like me, everyone around me is good at faking it.
I pull myself together and head back into the meeting. I really feel like shouting, “It’s not Halloween anymore. Everybody, please take off your masks. Starting with me!”
But I don’t shout. And I don’t take off my mask. I fake it just enough to make it through the day.
Later, after work, I sit down at my laptop. I look at my blog. For 18 months I’ve written about kids, family, work, holidays, cooking, and even dancing. I’ve written about everything but pain. If you don’t know me – really know me -- you may think I lead a life of joy and bliss. You have to read between the lines to find the pain. But it’s there.
I hate pain. I hate watching others in pain.
But I’m tired of being afraid of pain. So I’m going start writing about it – for the next three Mondays. I’m going to finish that conversation with God and ask you to join me.
Do you find yourself pretending like you’re fine on the outside when inside your are a mess?