I Pretend IDGAF But Really, I Feel Too Much

Since grade school, I’ve used my resting bitch face to great effect and crafted a polished, impenetrable mask of indifference that rarely wavers and barely betrays a chink in its armored facade. Although it successfully makes me appear unbothered by damn near everything and as if I have no f*cks left to give, it hides an excruciating level of sensitivity. I learned early to hide nearly every emotion, and here I am decades later, still hiding my feelings behind my indifference.

There’s a metric eff-ton of fear hiding behind my apathy.

It’s the primary emotion I hide behind indifference. Letting someone know I’m scared makes me feel too vulnerable. It’s easier—and safer—to act like I don’t care, whatever the situation. My brain likes to convince me that my people, the people who love, support, and accept me, will laugh at the things I’m afraid of, even though I know better.

Sometimes, I tuck my anger back there until I get control of it.

It’s not always a bad thing, the way I hide my emotions behind a thick facade of couldn’t care less. It’s not always safe to let them out full-throttle, and no one knows that better than me. Have you ever noticed that negative, volatile feelings are often the hardest to control?

Thanks to my bitch face, you’ll never know you hurt my feelings.

I learned this in grade school because I was the weird chubby kid who preferred to play with the boys but desperately wanted the girls to like me for entirely different reasons. Unfortunately, elementary school is when the catty girls start sharpening their claws. I learned early on to turn my expression blank and uncaring or else the teasing just got worse, and my parents would end up getting involved because little Lyndsie was crying on the playground. Again.

Occasionally, I stick grief behind a blank mask, too.

It doesn’t happen always, and not around everyone, but pain makes me vulnerable. Don’t you feel that way when you’re grieving? Burying it always backfires, though. People assume I don’t care or that I’m unemotional when the truth is that sometimes, I’m too emotional to bear it. It’s odd, too. I cry when I’m angry or on my period or nostalgic, I cry when I’m sad or overcome, I cry at the drop of a hat, but I hate letting anyone see it. I’m embarrassed for days.

I often look like IDGAF even though I’m secretly remorseful.

Saying “sorry” is hard for me. In the interest of honesty and full disclosure, I even have to admit to continuing a fight because I don’t want to apologize even though I’m in the wrong—and I know it. Not a good trait, I realize, so at least there’s that.

I don’t always show my disapproval, but I’m judging hardcore.

It’s not my place to approve or disapprove of anyone’s behavior, with some exceptions. I know that. It’s never my role to judge. After all, I’m not paying anyone else’s bills. Still, human nature being what it is, I’m sometimes a horribly judgmental creature. I just hide it very well, and I try not to let it color my interactions with people. Hey, I’m not proud.

It often seems like I’m singularly uninterested in pretty much everything.

It’s ridiculous, really. Pessimism plays a huge part. The best way I can describe it is to say that it’s like I have a preposterous superstition and believe that if I show too much interest in something, it will disappear. Instead, I come off like I don’t care. Yes, it’s quite self-sabotaging. It’s gotten better over the years, something for which my wife deserves all the credit.

Ditto my excitement, which causes some problems.

My wife does not handle this one well. It drives her crazy. My excitement rarely, if ever, shines through my resting bitch face, let alone my indifference, whereas she bounces out of bed every morning at a high 8, she’s so enthusiastic about life in general. She’s constantly left wondering if I’m genuinely excited about an upcoming date, trip, or concert because she can’t tell that I’m just as overjoyed as she is. This goes back to that superstitious thing, plus I figure that if I’m going to face disappointment, I’d rather look like I didn’t give a damn in the first place.

I hide a lot of rage.

It’s probably something I need to work on, no joke. I have a tendency to let resentments pile up without saying a word until they’re finally ready to explode. I can’t let them overflow. It causes fewer problems to just grit my teeth and swallow it. It’s not healthier or more helpful, but it’s less problematic. Unfortunately, it then takes the smallest thing to unearth all the anger I buried, so it seems to come out of nowhere even though it’s been building over time.

My joy can look like apathy.

The fear hiding back there covers everything else. It doesn’t feel safe to reveal joy sometimes, either. That’s a lonely place to be, a solitary place to live, so this is one layer I try to remove whenever possible. That removal is often forceful, but as a result, I’ve learned countless other ways to express happiness.

Even my anxiety comes off as blasé.

As anxious as I am, it doesn’t always appear that way, a fact that’s placed me in far too many uncomfortable situations. Even though I’m a ball of twisted, tangled nerves inside, there’s no outward sign that anything’s amiss. I don’t want to cause problems, but it’s a detriment to my safety and peace of mind.

Too much of my trust is buried beneath a distant attitude.

It takes a long time for me to trust anyone in the first place. It doesn’t come quickly. Even after reaching that point, the person I’ve come to trust doesn’t necessarily realize it because I act like it’s no big deal and everything’s the same as it always was. That’s not fair to the precious few I try never to hide from, and it’s not fair to me, either.

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