putting on a face | a poem

16 December, 2019

I am tired of feeling small.
Of giving empty smiles
and brushing hands 
without flinching.
I wish human contact
meant more.

I hate when people ask me how I am
because it seems so nice,
seems so simple and easy
but it is so meaningless.
Asking people how they are 
is just a convention of niceness.
It is what we consider polite 
but then you rush on 
before hearing my answer 
and you continue with
the most violent form of kindness:
pretending to care.
If you don’t care then don’t ask.
If you are not really happy 
then don’t smile at me.
Don’t make eye contact.
Don’t look at me or
anyone ever.

Imagine if we lived in a world, 
where people were not always 
pretending to be nice, 
pretending to make small talk and 
putting so much effort into 
putting on a face.
What if we could put that effort 
into things that really mattered?
If I didn’t care about my hair 
and I could actually 
be nice when I wanted to 
and not when I am not. 
Would that be a harsher world 
or a more honest one?
Would it hurt me to see 
that everyone is faking it 
even if 
on some deeper level 
I already know?

I am tired of feeling small.
Tired of smiling and saying thank you 
when I don’t mean it.
I feel like 
if my social commitment
to being polite and playing a part
actually makes someone's day
a little bit brighter,
and their smile just 
that much more genuine,
than I am really an awful person
for playing pretend.
If I don’t really care
but they think I do,
Am I playing a trick on them?
Or am I just an awful person 
for not meaning it 
when I am supposed to?
Are we all living in a false sense 
of how other people actually fee?,
Have any positive interactions 
I have ever had 
with another person 
I am not related to 
by blood 
been real?

There is a part of me that doesn’t think so.
And she is tired. 


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