This is not a personal message. I am reading “The Invisible Bridge” by Julie Orringer. It is a story about a Jewish Hungarian man who’s living in Paris, then Hungary during the Second World War. It is a book that is continually making me cry, hurt, and think about my own privileged life. I wrote this as thoughts from Andras’, the protagonist, perspective.
I believe you think that I’m a Strong One; that I have my life together and can take whatever comes my way. That I can shoulder my way through the hard times and attack and defeat those things that try to stop me from moving forward. The truth is, you couldn’t be more wrong. I’m not strong. I’m weak and sensitive and there are times when I think my life might just be falling apart. Yes, it’s true, those days don’t come all the time. But they do come.
When I hear something that is hurtful to me or to someone who I love and care about, I may seem strong and calm on the outside, but on the inside I’ve just curled up and burst into tears. And as soon as I am alone, that may happen on the outside as well. I seem strong, but it’s a mask that I can’t seem to take off. Maybe I need you to think that I am a Strong One. Or that I don’t want your help. The worse part is, you probably think that the mask means that I don’t want a helping hand. That I can take care of myself. But you’re so wrong.
There are times when I don’t want or need you to tell me to buck up, to get through the rough times, to hold strong. Sometimes I need a shoulder to cry on, a hug, or at the very least, a pat on the back.
The weak ones without the masks are the easiest to help. They are able to cry out and ask you for it. It’s the quiet ones that are sitting back, observing and listening to the hurting things being said around them, internalizing, that are missing the helping hand because their masks prevent them from asking for it.
Don’t let the mask fool you.
I’m not strong, I bleed like everyone else… sometimes even easier.