Don’t let the smiling faces in the picture fool you, things are not always as they seem. The image I put forward for the world to see, is a portion of my “best” self. What they don’t see in all the photos or regular updates is the pain, hurt, anger, and upset that maybe playing out behind the scenes.
What you don’t see in this picture is my upset that in every photo we had my friends take, that Kevin was unhappy with the way he looked. You don’t see my frustration, wanting to have an image to savor the memory (my first MLB game!), and my need to make sure I wasn’t going to post anything that would make Kevin unhappy. What you don’t see are the ten other shots that other people took at different angles while the game was going on that are now deleted. What you don’t see is me getting angry that we had to sit down, because the inning was starting, and wanting to give up.
What you don’t see in this picture is the argument over how the photo should be taken. The frustration of not being able to articulate what I was hoping to get. You don’t see my disgust with my own face. You don’t see the other fantastic shots of Kevin because I think I look fat, gross, or some other terrible thing. You don’t see me wanting to be everything I can, wanting to be someone Kevin’s friends are glad to see him with. You don’t see me wanting to be everything he deserves and feeling like I am always coming up short. You don’t see me feeling like I am not worth it. You don’t see me trying my best to not make a major scene. You don’t see me feeling like I just ruined a great moment.
What you don’t see in this photo is the attitude I gave all the way to dinner. You don’t see my anger and frustration that once again things aren’t going as planned. You don’t see me sitting on the bench, waiting for our food, in tears because all of the moments are bring back too many memories and emotions. You don’t see me struggling with the fact that all I ever wanted with Henry was to have a date night like Kevin and I were having. You don’t see my upset that my mind wandered to those thoughts. You don’t see the fear I felt as I worried I was reliving something from before. You don’t see how much getting burgers in DC before the symphony felt like getting burgers in Charlottesville before the symphony. You don’t see Kevin holding me, letting me hid my teared face in his chest. You don’t see Kevin comforting me reminding me that it is all okay. You don’t see Kevin recognizing, acknowledging and helping me work through my emotions.
In stead in every photo you see our happy smiling faces.
On June 10 I sat around the track as I watched my former roller derby team skate. It was the first time I had seen many of my old team mates since the start of the New Year.
As the drive up to Maryland for the game came closer and closer to its end, the unsettling feeling in my stomach began to creep its way up into domination. We parked at the back of the parking lot and Kevin told me we didn’t have to go in. “Why wait?” I replied, “Might as well go in and get this over with.”
I didn’t know what to expect. I was ready for someone to ask me why I left and when I was coming back, and I wasn’t sure how I would answer. I didn’t know who would talk to me and who wouldn’t. I didn’t know how I would feel watching the game. All I knew was that I was hoping they would lose.
This was the first game I had been to, on or off skates, part of a team or not, that I didn’t want to cheer. I watched from the sidelines wishing that I could be doing that, but not with that team. I was bitter. I was hurt. I cheered when certain players got penalties and exclaimed, “There is a God!” when they got two back to back. I was an ass in the stands, getting satisfaction from my former team members short comings. I hated myself for letting such a negative thing bring me so much joy, but at the same time, I couldn’t help but think it was one of the best things I had seen.
It was an hour and a half of wishing I wasn’t there, silently cheering on the other team, choking back tears, and relishing the moments other people failed.
My old team came out victorious in the end. They took their victory lap and I slapped everyone’s hands.
Waiting for people to get together and Kevin to wrap up announcing, I stood in conversation with friends and former team mates. Uncomfortable in my surroundings, I asked Kevin if we could head outside. Quietly we made our way out of the venue. I kept my head down avoiding eye contact with everyone. As we walked out the front door we walked past a group of my former team mates and didn’t say a word.
“Bye Mosh!” they yelled, “Bye Kevin!”
As Kevin looked back and yelled good bye, I held my hand in the air waving as we continued to walk.
What they didn’t see was me holding back tears. What they didn’t see was how I lost it when we got to the car. They didn’t see me sobbing in the passenger seat of Kevin’s parked car because I hurt so bad. They didn’t see the pain that I felt, my anger, my upset. They didn’t hear me say how unfair it was. They didn’t hear me cry about how something I loved had been taken away. They didn’t hear me wish that I could go back to playing, but not with them. They didn’t see me cry into the arms of one of the coaches as she told me it was okay, that it would get better. They didn’t see me cry into the arms of my friends, who could relate the endless pain.
What they most likely saw was their former team mate and friend, who looked like they didn’t care the whole game. What they most likely saw was the discomfort on my face. What they most likely saw was a bitter jerk who couldn’t even say good bye.
What they most likely saw wasn’t me.