I thought my heart was on my sleeve. So why weren’t people coming to me, consoling me, attempting to tell me that everything would be alright? I had even spilled tears, albeit not intentionally, which I was sure would gather the crowd. Then I looked in the mirror: the tears were barely visible. They were just shiny lines streaking down my cheeks. My face wasn’t red; my eyes weren’t puffy. No wonder no one noticed.
Then I realized: my heart was heavy, but it was not on my sleeve. My face smiled, and who beside me knew it was fake? Who besides me knew that the muscles required for that grin were tired, anxious to collapse and never be used again? I had assumed my façade was paper thin and as transparent as glass. Perhaps I had built it better than intended.
Did I want to tear those walls down, though? Could I? I didn’t want hundreds of gossip mongers searching for the source of my tears; I just wanted someone to genuinely care.
Maybe that was too much to ask for. Maybe my walls are there for a reason.
Maybe I should leave those walls as they are, strong and erect, maybe I should repair and refine them every year, maybe I should make them stronger.
It’s a good thing my heart’s not on my sleeve. It would be so vulnerable there.
Accompanying Photo: “Girl Pondering” by Aliza Abusch-Magder
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