Some people are so good at downplaying their sadness that even they don't realize how much they do it. When you ask them how they are they will always say that they are good, even when they aren't. They exhaust themselves by plastering an energetic and carefree persona in the spaces that you watch them in because at least to you they can control how they appear. They can pretend to be the happy person they want to be when everyone is telling them how funny and bubbly they are all the time.
They can pretend to be happy when everyone is watching.
The pressure is always on their shoulders to keep this act up because they never want everyone to worry. They are the ones always checking up on others and people-pleasing because it helps them get through the day. They never want you to feel as alone as they do and when you smile at them, relieved, it soothes their aching soul. They stretch themselves thin making others happy. Since they can't help themselves, at least they can feel some secondhand happiness when they lift up everyone else's spirit. They are everyone's confidant, savior, and best friend. They want to see you thrive.
They are the most reliable people you know, but they pour from an empty cup. They are so tired.
Once they are alone they sit with the fact that they feel dead inside. Sometimes they don't ever allow themselves to be alone for this very reason. They surround themselves with people who will drown out the voices in their own heads. They are the ones who overwork themselves and find no joy in relaxation. The sadness can't get to them when they have no time to be sad, they make sure that they run from themselves with a busy calendar, a heavy workload, or a bursting social life. Sometimes they numb themselves by endlessly scrolling on their phones. They think they can run from the darkness inside themselves but they can't. It creeps up on them late at night, or in crying spells early in the morning. Sometimes it hits them when they are surrounded by people and suddenly...they feel indescribably alone.
They feel alone because they haven't made friends with themselves yet.
If you see someone with the biggest heart you've ever known and the most unbreakable smile you have seen, look into their eyes.
Maybe the person who is always happy is not so happy after all. Maybe they are dying for someone to see past their artificial smile and tell them that the gig is up. Maybe they need you to let them fall apart and tell them it's okay to feel other emotions because they have lived their whole life telling themselves that they can't — that they won't be a burden just because they aren't always at their best and making everyone else smile and laugh, that they are strong enough to face their demons instead of letting their demons haunt them.
It took me years to stop running from my emotions.
The moments where people described me as the life of the party, I realize now were my moments of deepest grief. I was overcompensating. I still hide my pain, but not all of it. I tell people close to me how I feel. I let myself feel everything I need to feel, and I remind myself that it's okay to do so. I am more honest and real about my emotions now. The quality of my relationships has improved. They are deep and fulfilling relationships I didn't know I was missing out on by never letting anyone in.
My smile is more unbreakable than ever, now that I've finally let myself cry.