Tearing down the facade

Struggling to find an image to attach to an abstract column, I went to AI, creating this image when prompted with imperfection.

Hotpot Art 6

Struggling to find an image to attach to an abstract column, I went to AI, creating this image when prompted with “imperfection.”

“There are always two sides to the story” is a cliché that has been recounted over and over again; the aphorism burns at the heart of every issue. Throughout this site, I’ve talked about my joys: my growth over the years, the highlights of 2021, gratitude to those who have changed me, an ode to my extracurricular passions, highlights from my summer, and a celebration to beginnings. My life is full of so much excitement that these stories come with passionate ease. I am surrounded by the most amazing family and friendships I could ask for, and I am so grateful for the life that I live. 

However, I have yet to let the darker parts shine through and reveal the reverse of the coin. I was told to avoid writing “sad” columns, but refraining from doing so would only result in toxic positivity. I don’t want to put up a facade of constant joy. We all have our struggles. No one should feel forced to smile all the time. 

I’ve admittedly overused the metaphors of water, but perhaps this is because I am constantly drowning. The suffocating pressures and expectations douse the light, and a toxic perfectionist mentality grabs me by the neck until I’m choking on unachievable goals. Falling, I never know if I’ll land on my feet. 

Perfectly polishing every word I profusely pour into these articles, stuttering as I stumble through college applications, and mentally mending my broken brain. Anxiety rising through the roof, I want nothing more but to give in to these hyperboles and let sleep devour me. 

I get overwhelmed so easily. My anxiety creeps inside of me. Makes it hard to breathe. What’s come over me? Feels like I’m somebody else. ”

— Royal & the Serpent

I feel so loved by the people I surround myself with, but that doesn’t neglect the countless times that I am left feeling alone. 

While some may view me as ahead, I’m consistently falling behind—watching as the backs of my friends turn to each other in laughter. I’m stumbling on obstacles that no one else can see, realizing that even I don’t have the patience to walk beside me. 

Betrayal and failure punch me in the gut, and suddenly I feel meaningless, floating on a dying wind. Plans fall through, dreams are torn apart, and solid ground slips away. I’m shut down, left in the dark while the sun still shines. I’m completely and utterly exhausted—desperately clawing at an invisible future.

I haven’t been lying as I send words of positivity and gratitude onto this site, but it’s unfair to ignore the downfalls and tragedies of everyday life. Plastering on smiles can only last for so long until the facade crumbles and reveals the ugly truth. Drawing back the curtains, the streams of sorrow behind these tired eyes finally trickle over. 

As the tower crumbles, I am overcome with grief. Confessions are only met with rolled eyes for being “too depressing,” “selfish,” and “dramatic.” Some even laugh as I fall deeper into oblivion. A war is raging, but fighting to the death is a depressing ending when no one can pick up the pieces.

Left in simple rejection, wishes fall on deaf ears, but in this case, it’s no plea for pity or remorse. It’s the mere glimpse of the pain we forge through. 

At this point, I can flip everything over and shine a positive light on the dark situation, but the light is temporary. Sometimes all we need is someone to acknowledge the dark.