Below the surface is the truth to us all. Deep beneath the smiles or the things we say, which may seem lighthearted to the rest of the world, and there behind the brave face or the personality we try to portray is a truth that we keep hidden. This is our unspoken voice. These are our thoughts that speak to us. There is a part of us which no one else knows about. This is the part of us that no one else can see. Just us.
Deep down there is a piece of us that wants to get out and feel free enough to feel the sunlight on our skin. There is a youthful side of us. There is a truth. There is a side of us that no one knows or sees. I have this part of me that no one knows about. He is me, yet, he is not me. He is my former self and my yet to be. He is my younger side and my infant wishes. I have this part of me that is scared and yet, curious. There is a part of me that wants to see, learn, laugh, and love. I have this swirl of ideas sometimes that come to me the way an idea comes to a little boy the first time he thinks about something as simple as climbing a tree or building a tree house. There is a part of me that is no different from a child looking to play or have fun. This piece of me is a small but integral part of my soul. This is the truth of my soul, which I seldom exposed or allowed anyone to see. And I’m not sure why. I’m not sure who is more afraid in this scene. Is it me? It is this child I keep inside that only wants to come out, and yet, I keep the child locked away because of fear. I keep him this way in fear of rejection and in fear of appearing unacceptable, or vulnerable and weak. What if no one likes the child? What if the ideas I have are just stupid?
Vulnerability is a tough thing for most of us (isn’t it?). To be susceptible, to be defenseless, to feel naked, exposed, endangered, or at risk; this is the problem. To assume others can see straight through; to be transparent, and to have all the faults and all the cracks, to have all the simple little truths be clear in view no matter how we hide them — yet, this is all that we have. This is us. This is me. This is all the beautiful aspects we contain in our hearts. This is the childhood dream, the need for love, and the need for joy. This is the desire to live and laugh, and to hold hands when we cross the street. This is the need to actually “Be” without judgement and to feel free to be who we are without the tension of discouragement or rejection.
For a minute, I would like to ask you to detach from everything. Think about a young child. The child does not know there is anything different about them. There is no attention to status. There are no thoughts about being overweight or underweight. There is no separation of color — whether the color is skin tone, hair color, blue-eyed, green-eyed, hazel, or brown. Think about the dreams that children have. Think about the heights they can reach. Think about the ability of a teddy bear or a set of building blocks. Think about how freedom can come in something so warm and comforting, like say, the reading of a story from a grandmother’s voice.
Think about the connection to the fairy tale about the man in the moon or the cow that jumped over it. Think about the excitement of something so incredibly simple and pure, like the first sign of lightning bugs in June before the sun goes down.
Think of the quietly tired feeling that comes at dusk when the bedroom is calmly dim. The bedroom is filled with childhood decorations. The shades are drawn. There is no turmoil here. There is no difference or judgement. There is nothing painful or hurtful or able to disturb the true essence of childhood innocence. There is no attention to money or status or the details of personal features. There is no understanding about the difference in the way we speak or the way we look. This is the age when there is no such thing as ugly because ugly is not a word people are born with. No, ugly is a word we are introduced to as time goes by.
There is a child in me. I can see him clearly. There is a part of me that I keep deep inside. And I keep him there not as punishment. But maybe I keep him there because he is special and pure. I keep him there because his dreams are too big for me to dare. He is too real, which frightens me, because what if someone else laughs? Keep in mind, this is just honesty. This is not a plea for help. This is not a means to reach or express myself to appeal to anyone else. No, this is me allowing a small child to see the light of day.
There are people that ask what depression is. There are people that ask what anxiety disorder is. And there are people that ask about the ideas of feeling trapped in the wrong body or living a life that would otherwise feel like a lie at best. Depression and anxiety is an internal misconception about self, which appears to be fact but it’s actually a lie. This is when we believe we are in threat. This is when there is the fear of exposure or public humiliation. There is this idea of impending doom, and next, all one can do is wait for the next series of bad news, like, “What else can go wrong now?”
The emotional quicksand and the personal claustrophobia becomes so much that logic is beaten by both illogical and irrational ideas. Meanwhile, deep down there is this child that only wants to be loved and valued. Deep down, there is a child that only wants to be important.
Do you know what it’s like to say something you immediately regret and then have it repeat in your mind to the point you wish you’d never said anything to begin with? The last words of your sentence sort of trail off and reverberate in your mind. So you try to say something else to make it better but the next thing you say only resounds to sound more stupid than the original.
This is depression. I suppose to free that child would be somewhat of a dream. I suppose this is too pure for people to touch. There is something to be said about this. There is something to be said about the child within, his hopes and his dreams, and his ideas that come along as visions of hope. And hope, well, hope is a risky word sometimes.
There is something in me, like a child, let’s say, that only wants to try, to do, to play, to live, and to feel free without the worry about being laughed at or shamed, fooled, or humiliated for being nothing but truthfully me.
I say this because by saying this, I believe there is a different version of expressing depression. Depression can be explained without being the usual way or “Supposed” sadness people assume this is. No, it is really different. Depression is the imprisonment of self. Meanwhile, there is only something in us that wants to be free. We want to be free of both the internal and external bullying of shame and insecurity.
I just want to be good. I just want to be pure. I just want to be me. Moreover, the pureness of this is often too bright for the eyes or raw to the touch but deep down, I just want to be me without fear or shame, regret, guilt, or fault. I want this because if personal imprisonment is depression, then expression is the only means of freedom. This is why I come here to meet with you every day: to let my child be free, to play, to love, and to let him know, it’s okay to come out now. No one will ever hurt you again.
I mean it –