<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/the-great-pretender/”>The Great Pretender</a>
The moment we walked into the house I knew there were going to be questions. It had been months since I had been back and I wasn’t sure what to expect. The last I knew of my house were the picture my brother took shortly after moving out. Proof that things were back in order, my stuff all back in it’s place. Some picture we all had of what it should be, rather than how things really are.
Kathy and her granddaughter made the trip with me so that I wouldn’t be alone. They knew I hadn’t told my family I was coming back and I wasn’t sure if I was going to my nephew’s birthday party. I needed their help and was grateful that I didn’t need to pretend otherwise.
Things with my family didn’t go so well. They were happy to see me, but not happy to look upon me. I wasn’t willing to delve into things that I just didn’t want to deal with for a few days. My mother was very disappointed I didn’t try to speak with a single person while in town. Four days and I just didn’t know who to call. Pretending that no one would want to see me was easier than I expected. Too easy in fact. I lied to everyone by saying I was just to tired and didn’t want to disturb the fantasy of others as to how or what I was up to.
What was I going to talk about? How the cancer has been kicking my ass lately. Sure I can get up and do things, but later I just sleep. I didn’t want to hear about the problems that could easily wait. I don’t care about people’s cellphones or computer issues. Leave me out of some broken piece of molding in the house because they didn’t know the person to call. And certainly don’t sit there asking me to fix some other issue for you just because I’m around. I wanted nothing to do with being the “Fix-it Guy” anymore.
I’m broken in a way that I keep trying to patch together, for myself without being forced back into a life I ran away from. It was what caused me to break down at one point. Life wasn’t normal, pretending that it was only made things worse for me. It might have been easier for them, but it left such a crushing weight on me I couldn’t deal.
Work at times forces me to conceal things about my life. It was the price to pay for needing the security clearance. Things I lied about so that no one had to worry about my emotions, the choices I sometimes had to make. They always thought it was just guilt working its way through, knowing I let people think I was okay with being the heavy, the nasty guy who would step on your throat to make things work. It’s the worst feeling in the world. All those times having to lie to my ex about office things, just to spare her feelings and be able to have her look at me.
It’s hard enough getting out of bed some mornings just from the stiffness in my body. Add in that loneliness from missing my daughter and at times her mother [that guy who you see looking at some picture on a tablet with the misty eye, that’s me!] and I just have had about enough. Pretending to be strong hasn’t been working. Smiling through all this pain has left me more concerned about others than if I’m truly okay.
Whining about this only makes it worse. I wish I knew how to deal with it, but I’m not as smart about my own emotions as I am about economic theory. At least then I can fall back on a book to remind me of a mistake I can avoid.
Pretending I’m okay has become a way of life. I absolutely am not okay.