His guys!!!!!!! I have been so inactive because of school yay zoom meetings are so fun. I just watch youtube but it looks like I’m paying attention (at least I think it does). Yeah I’m definitely going to get into trouble but I did the same thing in school so it’s cool! Just before we start, just a reminder to comment down below your assumptions about me since I’m going to make a post about that later! (hint: assume that I’m amazing ok bye).
Anyway so today I sat down and decided that I should be serious for once in my life because I’m just dark and mysterious like that. So this is a true story with real people and experiences, however with fake names. It’s just bringing societal or personal problems (specifically depression) into attention since I think they’re important. We should all be self aware about these things since ignorance can hurt people, as I’ve encountered before. Disclaimer: I was young at the time this event happened, so I was not self aware at all. I’m sorry if I come off as a terrible person, but I’m okay with writing about my flaws. Again, I apologize if I offend anyone. You guys are all so beautiful and loved, and you are going to be so successful and happy when you grow up. I value each and everyone one of you and will support you no matter what♥️ Ok let’s gooo.
A Masquerade Ball Gone Wrong:
I would call life a masquerade ball. An arrangement and gathering of people, who all wear slightly different and striking masks. Some are swan black and shimmering, some are prickling and red, and some are delicate and gold. Some people seem confident, some are temperamental, some are quiet. We all have learned to perceive others based on their masks of happiness, tranquility and some form of individuality. However, it was only until 8th grade, on a humble innocent field trip, when I realized there always exists a terrifying truth hidden under that illusionary mask.
The train to Rishekesh rumbled and roared on the rocky railways. I was immersed in a crossword puzzle of the locations the long windy train had passed by so far. Three of my friends, Mira, Zoe and Rina were singing on the top of their lungs. Their happy voices made me smile too. I liked when others were happy. Despite their drunken-like singing, I continued to scribble on the crossword. Zoe glanced at me.
“Why have you spent the whole train focusing on a crossword puzzle? You should have more fun in your life.” Zoe snapped at me. Her condescending nature did not alarm me. It was just the way she was. Introducing Zoe Smith to the masquerade ball! Tall and proud, long red dress, deadly eyes, and a mask made of slick bird feathers, lined with prickly red and white rhinestones.
“I don’t know. I like puzzles…” I mumbled. Introducing Kate Allen to the masquerade ball! Average and timid, simple white dress, pearl necklace, soft eyes, white and gray mask, with blunt white rhinestones.
“What should we do with the drunken sailor, what should we do with the drunken sailor!!!” Mira continued to screech. Introducing Mira Chine to the masquerade ball! Average and confident, extravagant dress with layers of the color wheel, dangling blue feather earrings, flamboyant silk blue and pink mask, with sparkling excessive rhinestones.
“No offense but your singing really sucks,” Zoe blankly stated.
“Why thank you so much Zoe!!!” Mira replied, her face gleaming with pride.
“You guys are hilarious,” Rina said through laughs. Introducing Rina Hamai to the masquerade ball! Tall and jubilant, daffodil colored dress which ripples like the sun, gentle flower in her golden hair, sunflower like mask, and sparkling white rhinestones to balance out her joyfulness.
“There’s nothing funny about it,” Zoe snapped back. “Kate, you seriously look depressed.” Not sure how to react to that statement. I wanted the words to evaporate and disappear as they always do. Instead, the absence of Rina’s cued laughter made all of us uncomfortable. I looked over to Rina.
“Is everything okay?” The train kept rumbling and moving along. Rina shrugged and looked over at Zoe.
“You shouldn’t make jokes about depression,” Rina stated. A bell started ringing and growling in my ear: silence. I saw Mira gaze out the window. The enthusiastic drunken snappy mood of the singing had died down into our worst enemy of awkwardness. There was no music left in our masquerade ball. I would have said something, but no words came out like always. Zoe’s eyes were glittering. Rina just continued to stare down at her hands. It was the first time in a long time I’ve seen the happiness sucked out of her.
“I wasn’t even trying to hurt anyone,” Zoe rambled. “It was just a joke. You’re always trying to make me look like the bad person. I didn’t do anything!”
“Oh my god, of course you’re the bad person Zoe,” Mira snapped. I rolled my eyes at her excessive painful comments, which are for the sake of drama.
“What’s going on Rina?” I asked. Rina shrugged.
“I have depression,” she whispered. Right at that moment, her mask had shattered. She revealed the ugly truth inside her beautiful sunflower shield she used to wear. It was frightening. The word “depression” stung the air like a bee. It was heavy, like an anchor large enough to pull down an entire ship. I never used to think about depression. It was always a thing I pushed aside. I took a slow gulp and tried to digest everything. All I could focus on was on Rina’s eyes. The twinkle in her eyes was gone; it is now filled with pure heart aching sadness. I knew how to react in a way: be comforting, say we will support her, talk to her, etcetera. However, I knew I couldn’t say anything. It might be wrong. I need to blend in like always, with my gray mask. Mira and Zoe were so silent too. Finally, one of them spoke up.
“I’m sorry Rina,” Mira squeaked, like a timid mouse.
“It’s my own fault,” Rina replied.
“Why are you depressed?” Zoe blurted. I sighed, but stayed silent. I don’t understand it. Depression depression depression. We’re young, how can we get depression?
“Religion, sexuality, location, family acceptance, so many things,” Rina said vaguely.
“Oh,” Mira said dryly. I could see her fingers twitching. I guess even the bravest of performers get frightened once in a while.
Silence struck again, singing to us in her slithery slow voice. It’s killing me. You’re not supposed to take off your mask in a masquerade ball. We’re just here for a good time. What was I thinking? Did I not want Rina to confide in us? Or was there some comfort in not knowing what’s underneath the mask? Are any of my other friends depressed?
“Did you ever try to… “ I started to say, my words flowing cautiously. “Try to-” I stopped. Zoe and Mira were staring at me, and almost judging my question. “Have you ever try to kill yourself?” I finally said. The question was so absurd for us pathetic teenagers on a school field trip. Of course she didn’t try. She couldn’t!
“Once yes,” Rina said, speaking quite fast now. “I took a knife at midnight and held it to my neck and I was about to kill myself and I started freaking out and crying- there was some blood but I didn’t know what to do – so i just kep crying – and then my mother came in and she was so scared and we both just stayed up crying – and now I don’t know what to do – I tried to talk to a counsler but she made me feel worse and now I hate myself for making it a big deal.”
“That was quite a rollercoaster,” Zoe said, smirking. Mira gave her literal dagger eyes. My eyes stung and I started to raise my voice.
“You’re not depressed. How could you be? You’re happy all the time. I’ve seen you laugh. You’re the-” I paused trying to catch my breath, “you’re the happiest person I know. Is that all an act?” Mira and Zoe nodded, as if we had made a groundbreaking scientific discovery. I tried to calm down as I gazed into Rina’s lifeless eyes.
“Yes it’s an act,” Rina whispered. “I mean no it’s not. Yes, it is. I mean- I feel happy when I’m around you guys, but seconds later I feel sad again. Like my “default setting.” She wasn’t Rina anymore, daffodil dress, golden hair, happy smile and sparkling mask. She had taken all of that off. She now looked like a plain ghost with sad tears. The awful awkward silence continued for a minute or two.
“You’re not depressed, Rina. You’re feeling sad,” Mira said, reassuring herself.
“Mira,” Rina said looking into her eyes. “I am. Believe me. Please believe me.”
“How can we help?” I asked Rina.
“Just treat me like happy Rina again. I like it that way. I know I’m lying to myself, but I’m figuring it out. Please don’t treat me differently.”
We all knew that wasn’t going to happen. What Rina had told us had changed our relationship with her forever. I wouldn’t say it made our friendship deeper. I was too young to realize that. It made it more difficult, painful and very very awkward. Despite Rina’s efforts, she never reminded me of a twirling Bella at a masquerade ball ever again. She reminded me of the forbidden ghost who would gloom in the corner, as she was punished for taking off her mask. Rina did not follow the rules. Ever since the heart aching train ride, I had almost stopped being friends with her. She moved away the year after. Forever. We never called her. We never texted her. She never talked to us ever again. Yes, we let her melt away. I cried.
It was extremely unfair for me to even think like that back then. But then again, I was young and naive. All I ever wanted to do is have a wonderful night at the utopian masquerade ball, where everyone hid their ugly truths for the sake of happiness. However, when I entered highschool, I realized this goal of mine will remain a fantasy. I realized a lot of my other friends experienced depression, problems with their sexuality, abuse from their parents and even harassment. More of these unspoken truths started to pop like bubbles around me. It became clear to me that these truths were not a burden, or something that needs to be hidden by normality. It occurred to me that living in my fantasy of a masquerade ball prevents me from understanding the one thing I need to learn in life: masks only make you beautiful, what’s underneath is what makes you strong. It’s funny how I learned such an important life lesson, in a small rumbling train to Rishikesh.
~ Kateeeee 🙂