I Can Smile

I smile,

I giggle,

I say the things I’m expected to say.

Never cry,

Never yell,

My face permanently plastered with a grin.

My positivity can be suffocating,

My jokes tickle your funny bone till you cry.

Folks roll their eyes at me,

Never guessing what’s going on in my air-head,

And that’s ok.

The empty,


                        gaping hole in my heart

Is not their problem.

I smile,

I giggle,

I say the things I’m expected to say.

I can sob into my pillow,

Scream inside till my soul is sore.

No one needs to know the ache I feel.

I act like a lady,

Treat others with respect.

I seem calm and cool,

Emotions under complete control.

But under the surface, I rage.

I rage against morning,

I rage against the night.

I rage with the fire of a thousand suns.

I battle myself with a thousand armies.

Armies of self-consciousness and fear,

Fear of the unknown tomorrow.

I fight till there’s nothing left,

Though there was nothing there to begin with.

Smiles and laughs temporarily ease my pain,

The pain of nothingness,

But it remains like a frosty plague.

I’ve shared my pain before:

“Don’t pity yourself”

            “It’ll fade away”

                        “Everyone feels like this”

I smile,

I giggle,

I say the things I’m expected to say.

I do not pity myself,

Though I do want a way out.

It hasn’t faded away,

Though it ebbs and flows like the tide.

Yet, I am not alone in my pain.

Marc Maron

            Jim Norton

                        Robin Williams;

They smiled,

They giggled,

They said what they were expected to say.

There are like me:

Using suffocating positivity to banish the nothingness.

But what of the others?

Those who can’t say what they’re expected to say?

Is it fair to let them drown in the emptiness?

To let them rage


                             ache on their own?

I can smile,

I can giggle,

I can say what they need to hear.

I do not need to reveal the man behind the curtain.

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