The other day someone told me, “you’re always so happy.” Oh shit. Thanks. These dimples do a lot to perpetuate the image, but also the truth. That I am happy. But not always. I am happy but, for the longest time I felt like two distinct Maddies. One who ate food and smiled and laughed alongside everyone else eating and smiling and laughing, but then also, one who felt every bite of food land in her stomach and pizza grease on her lips for hours after she’d washed her face.
I am happy but, I’m barely out of a depressive flare-up. It feels like I’m walking barefoot in the forest. Doable, but it takes a while. I lay each step toe to heel. I feel what’s underneath before I bear weight so my knees don’t buckle.
I am happy but, not Instagram happy. Not the curated kind. The messy kind rooted in the hard stuff. The kind that comes with stories and confessions and is shared with anyone who will stand here patiently with me and wait. And listen.