If you look behind the curtain, you may find a woman pacing, college students plugged into their mp3s while poring over textbooks as they study for exams, ignored texts, a young man running through his lines one more time before he has to step out on stage, foot injuries, rehab, an AA meeting, and an electrician fixing a lightbulb. If you step around to the other side, you see happy faces and people being nice to each other and everyone getting along and no messy lives.

I have often been the woman pacing and the first time I admitted this to a friend, she looked at me like I was crazy. That was about half my age ago, so now I have accepted this part of me and understand it’s just something I do if I’m nervous or stressed or whatever. Pacing is how I deal. For some people it may be not responding to texts or tuning into music to help them study or cleaning or fixing something. Some people, like close friends and family, may witness you go through these things, but a lot of times, you go through these things alone. Just don’t forget other people go through these things alone too.

We are good at hiding the part of ourselves we don’t want others to see. We do this by telling others, “Study? Psh, I don’t really need to do that. I just go to lectures and listen and pretty much know what’s going to be on the exams.” We don’t tell people we pace alone in our rooms sometimes. We recover from foot injuries and go back on stage and all the audience sees is the smile on our face as we dance our best. And in some cases, a group of girls together in the same room is the most interesting to watch. To each other’s faces they may smile and be nice, but behind their backs…well, they don’t call some girls drama queens for nothing…

I hope you remember you are not alone in this. In a world where that is so easy to forget sometimes, remember there are other people who deal in the same way that you do, yet don’t show it on their faces. Who pretend life is all good and easy to get through, who also answer “fine” whenever someone asks how they are doing. Showing ourselves in our truest, purest, rawest forms is unthinkable, but it doesn’t mean this form of ourselves doesn’t exist. I hope you remember that and aren’t afraid to take a peek behind the curtain every now and then and maybe even help out a fellow woman pacing.

YuMin Ye

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