Today is the way that I have long awaited – my best friend growing up is getting married! Not only am I excited to be there for her, I also will be a bridesmaid for the first time. Although I knew that this day was approaching, everything seems rather surreal. How is that I am at the age where friends are getting married? Life slips by so quickly.
Despite my excitement, I am also terrified. In the past, weddings have proved a huge challenge for me. The last time that I stayed for the entire party was years ago. Even then, I isolated for parts so that I could manage the stress. So how will I make it through today without becoming too overwhelmed?
After talking with my therapist, I decided to try a coping skill that might be a bit controversial. Instead of panicking or worrying about myself, I am going to pretend to be confident and normal. With a head held high, I am going to prove to everyone that I can survive this. Even if I am dying inside, no one will know. Once I get home, the emotions can pour out if need be. However, at this wedding, people will simply see me as a loving friend who is so happy for the bride.
Playing a part can involve stuffing down emotion. For years, I used this to escape from my feelings and pain. Thus trying this coping skill is a bit risky. If you do not feel ready to try this, please do not force yourself to do so. Yet, used correctly, this skill can help someone to make it through stressful situations. The key is to use it as a coping skill and not a lifestyle. Acting can help for a certain amount of time but does not fix the problem.
Since I have made progress in being authentic, it is time for me to know when to put on a mask. As much as it would be wonderful if everyone could be honest with others, our world does not work that way. Sometimes, we need to protect ourselves or others. Without lying to anyone, you can pretend to be more confident, calm, or positive about life.
I hope that this post makes sense. In no way do I mean to confuse people. Living a lie is not healthy nor is faking your personality. However there are times when playing a part for a little while (a few hours) is needed to get through life. Today will be wonderful and I will be joyous, strong, and regal. No one will see the monster screaming in my head while I smile at the couple. Perhaps as I pretend to be fine, my feelings will follow.