I'm Not Gonna Pretend Anymore

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As many of you may have noticed, I've been pretty inactive for a while, with the exception of dm/pming a few people and the occasional vote on a friend's admin. You might also have noticed that my channel description has been deleted, and my profile picture is blacked out. Given current circumstances, most of you may have assumed the changes were in support of the Floyd and BLM movement. While I do believe that all people, regardless of race, should be treated as equals...that's not why I'm blacked out. The real reason is a lot more personal. 

For the first six years of my life, I lived at my great-grandma's house with her, my grandma, and the rest of my immediate family while my parents tried to earn enough money for a place of their own. Those years hold a lot of fond memories, from laughing and scraping knees with my sister in the front and back yard, to tip-toeing down the stairs to mom and dad's room in the scary basement. But by far some of the best memories I have are the times spent with my great-grandmother. We called her Tutu, which means "grandma" in Hawaiian. She would sometimes tell us about the trips she took there and how much she enjoyed them. She told other stories too, about growing up during the Great Depression, and about my mom and my grandma when they were younger. I loved those stories, and I still remember a lot of them. The little things we did together still stick close to me: cuddles in the recliner before breakfast or while watching Perry Mason on the old tube TV, watching her smile and chuckle as we put on a show in our dress-up clothes, her help cleaning up scrapes with gentle reminders to be more careful next time (though we never listened), her countless kisses and "I love you"s for no reason at all. When we moved away, she was one of the people I missed most. On the bright side, it made me appreciate her company even more during holiday and summer visits. But as everyone eventually does, she grew old. She couldn't walk without someone's help or support from a walker, everyday tasks became difficult, she couldn't think straight and her memory began to fade. On June 2nd, Blackout Tuesday to the rest of you, she woke up in a great deal of pain and remarked feeling very, very tired. She took enough medication to ease the pain, went to bed and fell asleep. She didn't wake up. At 5:00 in the evening, she was officially declared dead. My family got a call two hours later. 

At first, I didn't really say anything. Few people outside of my family knew about what happened, mostly family friends and a couple of people who found out despite my not having said anything. Though I was, and still am, grateful for their support, I declined most offers to talk, mostly because I wasn't sure how I felt about everything. If I'm honest, I'm still not sure how I feel. I also felt like I had to be the one staying strong for my mom and siblings, and that I had to keep smiling for the people who didn't know what was going on. I didn't want to burden them with my problems, they had enough of their own. A couple of my friends sensed something was wrong, though, and forced the truth out of me. I'm glad they did, because they helped me realize this: Despite the fact that I hate the idea of throwing my struggles at others and "looking for attention," as the voices in my head say, I realized that holding back and wearing a painted smile hurts far worse than letting myself grieve and try to sort through the mess I'm in now. So I'm done pretending. Done hiding behind a mask. Done lying through my teeth saying everything's fine and I'm okay. Because I'm not. And everything's not fine. 

This chapter probably won't stay up for long. If you're a friend of mine who has questions, I will answer them. Just not too many at once. I'll probably stay inactive for a while, and don't know when I'll be back. If I do happen to be on, I apologize for any depressing outbursts or breakdowns. I haven't really felt like myself lately. Sorry for the long-winded chapter. I won't be bothering you any longer. 

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