I have officially been labelled cold hearted because I didn’t cry watching the last drama, I didn’t flinch when they told me a coworker had cancer, and I didn’t shed a tear at the last funeral. Little do they know, my idea of survival means that once I hit a certain pain threshold I just shut down. Maybe no one cared enough to come find me in the sea of tears I already cried and people are content to label me rather than send a life raft.
My alibi, I am sure I am doing the right thing. Sometimes when we face a crisis we go into this other mode where maybe we aren’t quite ourselves, a survival mode. But, in being in that survival phase we also build up a mask that we tend to just keep on after a while. People see the face of a strong person who has keeping it together all figured out. Until you don’t wear your mask one day and realize that people forgot who the real you is. And along with that, they forgot that maybe you’re not as tough or rough around the edges as they thought you were. You are still human, undead but human in my case.
Being a vampire does not mean we are this elite species that is above the lives and issues that humans face. It means that we are consequently trapped in human nature for a much longer time than anyone else. So, we maintain a delicate web of falsehoods to protect ourselves from emotional harm. We started doing this when we were human and just never stopped.
Do you act one way at home and another in public? Are you nicer to strangers than to people that are close to you? You may have a wall up that you don’t even know about that needs to come down. Not letting people in seems protective, but it also means that you’re not getting out either.
We wear our masks well, but let me invite you to just be yourself for a minute. Let your hair down, lets your fangs show, and just have a moment to be yourself and know that you being just you right now is not only okay but perfectly acceptable. We must strive to get away from gaining acceptance based on who we want people to think we are and find that we are generally still accepted as who we are inside.
When that person inside is grieving, that changes a lot about who you are at the time. Grief is a process. Don’t get stuck in denial or blame or depression. Go through those feelings, but come out on the other side.
This is especially true when we lose a relationship. Sometimes it is an unhealthy relationship and we carry a certain amount of shame for loving the other person more than we loved our own sense of self worth. Let the people that love you remind you that you are fierce and deserving.
When we lose someone to death suddenly, there is a grief of not having said or done and needing to have had more time that maybe isn’t as deep when it was an onset of a condition that slowly progressed giving one time to process the prospect of having to let that person go. It is okay to feel a longing along with that loss.
The important thing to remember is that whatever stage of grief you are in, stay genuine, stay you, take off the strong mask. You don’t have to bear your soul or be vulnerable. But, being honest about who you are and where your heart is in the healing process is hard enough without carrying around a different persona to hide from people that probably aren’t close enough to you for wearing a mask to really matter anyway.