It’s strange. I look around and there is no way that they cannot see me. How can they not see me? I’m walking right past them. I’m standing in front of them. I’m in their line of sight as they just move around me as if I’m an invisible obstacle. This transparent bubble that encircles my very being both inside and out surrounds me.
I can see them. They’re talking. They’re acknowledging everyone around me, but I walk by and they don’t see me. If they pretend that I’m not there, then they don’t have to face whatever it is that I’m about. They don’t have to listen to anything I say that may make them uncomfortable. It’s easier for them to just ignore that I’m there.
Sometimes, they may nod. They may say, “Hello.” They may ask how things are going in life, and what I’ve been up to lately, but they don’t really want to know. They want to only see and hear what will make them feel good. If what I say will cause any kind of worry, or bring about any negativity into their world, then they don’t want to hear it. So, instead they see the face that’s plastered over the bubble. They see the fake and smiling façade that has been tattooed onto its surface, in order to cover my face. That is what they see, and to which they speak. That is what they expect every time they ask a question. If I remove the tattoo, then they will get scared; so, I must leave it be. They will not know how to deal with the real being that lives inside the bubble that stands before them. I walk through the crowd and hope that the day will end. I want to leave. I don’t want to be here. I can feel them looking at me, but trying not to really see me. Maybe they’re just trying to take what they see and shape it into an image that causes them pleasure.
So, I just continue to walk through the crowd, and fit in as best as I can. I move through the groups and answer any questions put before me with a positivity that makes me sick. My tattoo is smiling, as I am not. But, it doesn’t matter. They are content. They talk to my disguise without issue. It makes them feel good. They don’t have to deal with anything real, and that makes them feel at ease.
The bubble is attached to me from the inside… the child of my brain, my body, and my soul. It surrounds me, shielding me from a world that is not yet ready for what I have to say. It keeps me safe from harm, since no one else is going to protect me. It keeps me from releasing my feelings to people in order to prevent the rejection that will most surely follow. So, what do I do? How do I live with this bubble; my bipolar bubble that I’ve lived with for so long? It’s my Siamese twin, the yang to my yin. It’s the light that shields my darkness that no one wants to see.
I live with shame. I live with hatred for myself. Failure overflows my body, almost drowning me in daily thought. I have not met my potential. I’m anchored to this point in my life with nothing more than memories of a life that I had dreamed. Nights are filled with thoughts of how things should have gone. The life. The family. The career. Everything that could have been, if not for hitting a wall that I never even saw in my path. It was just dropped in front of me, cutting me off from all that life had in store.
I can hear that world, though. I hear the families, the people living their lives, and experiencing the world as it was meant to be experienced. I hear the laughter from family and friends. I can see the fireworks over the wall, from all the celebrations that continue to progress beyond it. I can’t get to them, though. My life is merely standing at that wall. I’ve tried kicking it. I’ve tried breaking it. I’ve tried screaming at it, hoping that the pain in my voice would shatter its core. All my effort was in vain, though. You can’t break such a wall alone. It’s impossible.
I have a friend, though. I’m not sure how she does it, but once a week she manages to make it around the wall to come and stand by my side. She reaches out her hand, piercing the bubble that surrounds me. It’s then, and only then, that the façade comes off. It’s when that tattoo suddenly seems to be drawn on with disappearing ink. Once a week, we sit together and she manages to do this, as she helps me to push down the barricade. She brings her tools to help smash it apart with as much strength and effort as she can. It’s those times that I have more hope that the barrier will someday collapse.
My mom tries too. She comes to me with her arms open wide and holds me when my body and mind ache. When the pain is so much, that I can barely stand, she is there to hold me, and only lets go when I’m able to gather my composure. She’s there with a smile and a great deal of love that fills up that empty cup of stamina, allowing me to continue the work before me.
My dad doesn’t know how to help me with the wall. He looks at it, and examines it, but doesn’t have an answer on how to break it apart. That worries him, so he gives me his hugs of encouragement, and walks away. However, if not for him, then I would never fight each day. He brings me the medicines that help me to see that the dam must be broken. No matter what, I must not walk away. He is the one that makes sure that I have those medicines, since I cannot get them myself. No matter how tired he may be, he will bring them to me. And, although he may walk away from the wall, he never leaves me completely. I see him. He’s standing there, watching me. He’s waiting and ready to catch me if I collapse.
It’s hard sometimes. I know I must not give up, but sometimes, it seems like I’m trying to defeat a monster that requires much stronger tools than are in my arsenal. It’s my Goliath, and as much as I want to be David, I just cannot. I try, though, and each time it hurts more and more. However, that friend who comes to the wall every week has a great deal of insight. She is good at helping me to see that I don’t have to be David. I just need to be Summer. And, I just need to keep fighting until my Goliath falls.
If that day ever comes, then maybe my bubble will burst and my soul will finally be free.