You crack a joke and I laugh, even if it is lame. But wait, am I laughing because I want to or is it something that I’m expected to do? Something terrible happens and I cry. But is this crying of mine just a reflex action, something I cannot control, or is this the thing I want?

24. That is the number of years I spent. Living. Trying to take a step. Laughing. Falling. Talking. Breathing. Running around. Crying. Getting up to fall down again. Learning to stay quiet. Twenty-four years, and never did I take a moment to step back and ask simple questions.

I cried without even questioning the truth of the reason behind my tears, laughed without validating my smiles, worried for the reasons I couldn’t understand (or maybe never tried to). I did not, not even once, stop to ask "why" or "for whom."

I never thought of living not for the sake of it or not for someone else or not to avoid death, but just to live. In these many years of my life, I haven’t thought of living.

Surprisingly, this façade that I carried with me, it didn’t even appear to be a burden anymore. My social-media-self had probably conquered my true-being. My presence among people had taken over my true-self. In the efforts of trying to please everyone, trying to be what a ‘normal’ person should be, I somewhere, somehow lost my identity. Do I even know myself? Did I ever try to get to know myself? In these twenty-four years, did I even get to spend twenty-four hours with myself?

Now, as I try to thinknabout all these questions (because I don’t have anything else to do), I feel scared… of what I might confront if I face my own self. I’m happy that there’s darkness all around, so I cannot even see a glimpse of my shadow. I feel safe by not talking to myself. I am comfortable avoiding my own eyes, even if they’re starring through a mirror. I can totally avert all the questions and continue to ‘live,’ only now under this mound of dirt where, at least, I do not have to worry about anyone.