This morning I ran. I ran outside because my hubby didn’t have to be into work until this afternoon, so I went on a 2 mile loop around our neighborhood.

Today during my run I ended up crying. Partly because running is the worst, but mainly because life has been hard lately and since I was alone, I just let it all out. I let the tears fall like rain and mix in with the sweat dripping down my face. Life has been downright sucky. I’ve found myself in a pattern of being extremely hard on myself, feeling like a failure, feeling left out/alone but then completely drained in a group of people, and feeling like some emotional crazy lady that is hiding a world of hurt behind a mask sponsored by Urban Decay cosmetics.

When people ask me how I’ve been my answer is usually with a smile “oh, you know the usual. Homeschooling a lot, hubby is working a lot, the new gym routine is fun”. I keep it pretty surface level because when I get deeper than that, I start to feel exposed for being the utterly weak person I am. I feel like if I let my guard down and share my struggles I’ll be met with an awkward silence that comes when people don’t know how to handle sadness, grief and emotions. I don’t want to burden them with a ride on Michelle’s crazy train. So I put on my mask. I keep smiling. I keep it surface level to avoid looking too crazy. I keep putting up cute pictures of my kids and family because they genuinely make me smile and take some of the pain away.

I’ve never enjoyed talking about personal struggles until they’re over and I can confidently say “I made it and this is what I learned” with some valiant message about resilience even in the hardest of times. I don’t have some inspirational message today because I’m in the thick of it. I don’t like opening up about my struggles because from an outside perspective even I have trouble understanding myself right now. I have a great life with so many good things going, why should I feel this way? My problems don’t seem big enough compared to others. I hide the truth because this week I learned that grief, depression and emotions make some people uncomfortable. Yet, I can’t deny that I am just not the same person I was a year ago, even 6 months ago. I’m trying to figure out what my next move will be, and if I can move forward in a direction that is scary to me.

We all have a mask we wear. Maybe it’s to protect others, maybe it’s to protect ourselves. I imagine a world where we all take that mask off and are downright real with how hard life can be and that sometimes, we just aren’t as strong as we want to be. Thank you to those that allowed me to take off the mask this week.

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