She's the type of girl who radiates energy and fun. With the most wild, carefree spirit and a big, contagious smile. She makes friends with strangers and dances alone on stage with no fear. She is the life of every party. What they don't know is that she lives for this. She lives for the Tuesday nights at the bar, the spontaneous adventures of losing herself on the dance floor surrounded by friends who have been drawn in by the wild spirit they also share. What they don't know is that beneath the surface of the contagious smile dancing next to them at the bar, there is another girl. This girl feels lost. This girl feels empty, but only when she is not distracted by the chaos of the crowded parties that fill the moments of silence. What they don't know is that when the night ends and the morning comes, she wakes up with a pit inside her chest and a rush of guilty thoughts. The search begins again each morning as she rolls out of bed and laughs the guilt she feels about the previous night away, as if this is how everyone must feel. After all, this is who she is. This is who everyone else is captivated by. The wild girl. The fun girl. The life of the party that everyone loves. This is how she finds her worth. By forming her entire identity around the nights that make her feel alive, only to realize that those nights don't last all that long and don't come often enough. Happiness is short lived for her, but when she feels it, she feels it to her core. The happy moments that she craves so desperately are swept away by responsibilities of the week, friends that cancel weekend plans last minute, and the nights when she is forced to sit alone with her lonely thoughts. She searches and searches for someone just like her. Someone who gets her. Who is also searching for those happy moments in the chaos of the bar just like her. She wants a friend who is a phone call away from heading out on a Tuesday night to dance. She wants a friend who doesn't get tired of the moments that make her the happiest, and who sits with her at her apartment to laugh about the mistakes they have made. This is what it's supposed to be like when you're in your twenties, right? Why do other people take life so seriously? But the emptiness always returns. The confusion always returns. She feels like an actress who is constantly working keep the unhappy girl inside hidden beneath her contagious smile. Who is she if she isn't the party girl or the fun friend? No one would want her if she was boring, right? What more does she have to offer the world besides being the life of the party? She knows it isn't true. That there is another person that she presents only to certain people at certain times. One who isn't as carefree. One with worries, insecurities, doubts, desires, sadness. One who yearns for a someone else to truly see her in her entirety. To finally understand her in a moment that isn't as glamorous or fun. Sooner or later, it seems as if all the friends she has made are just as fun as she is. She finds it even harder to feel understood, because they don't know that the friend they dance next to is another girl on the inside. She becomes even more unhappy. Distracting and distracting. Searching and searching. Until one day, she feels so much more lost than she was in the beginning. She almost doesn't recognize the face she sees in the mirror. She looks back on the many nights that brought her happiness in the moment - the guys that made her feel beautiful over a drink at the bar, the nights she danced on stage with her fun friends, the wild stories that she laughs about the next morning. She starts to wonder how she got to this place - guy after guy, drink after drink, it has slowly accumulated into a feeling of shame. She is angry that the things that made her so loved by others has caused her to not even love herself. She is angry that the pit in her chest keeps returning, yet she doesn't know why it is there to begin with or how to make it disappear. She is angry that her friends seem to be less and less interested in sharing a Tuesday night drink with her. She is angry that somehow no one understands her - no one really knows the girl beneath the contagious smile and wild spirit. Why does she keep searching? What else will make her as happy or as alive as she feels with a drink in her hand on the dance floor? She doesn't know. All she knows is that she is left with nothing beyond the chaos. All she knows is that the girl she pretends to be is the girl that everyone else thinks they know. And she doesn't know how to show the real her without disappointing them all. If she isn't fun then what is she? Her worth has been connected to the chaos. If only she could take the mask off, find her worth somewhere else, be understood and loved for the girl she really is....and she can. It won't be as fun or chaotic, of course. And the fun friends may leave her alone in her apartment while they head out to search for more chaos, more guys, more drinks. She will be lonely for a while, but that's okay. One night at a time she will adjust. She will cry over take out food and watch a netflix show. She will snapchat the guy who made her feel beautiful on one of those nights only to realize he doesn't care about her. That doesn't mean she is not beautiful. It just means he is searching for a girl to temporarily fill his pit, and that girl is no longer her. She will be thankful that others continue to let her down, because those sad moments will bring her closer and closer to the people she needs to replace them with. She will stare at the tiny screen in her hand and wish she was with the people at the bar who seem to be having so much fun without her. But she will tell herself that they are lost like she once was. They also have the pit inside their chest. They also feel empty, yet they have not realized it just yet. She will slowly return to the girl inside who was once tucked away from the world. She will hate herself for a little while and wonder how she can find her worth again, but that is okay. She will remember the mornings when she woke up and felt nauseous thinking about the risky decisions she made in the chaos of the night before. She will soon find that beyond the chaos, though not at glamorous, there are people who knew this secret all along - there is long term happiness is more than the fun nights when you are young and free. The pit doesn't last forever when you know your worth beyond the fun version of yourself. Your worth comes from knowing that it's okay to feel bad about yourself sometimes without thinking you are doing something wrong. It's okay to feel lonely. The girl inside is worth more than the drunk guy that is using her beauty and fun spirit as a distraction from the very same pit inside his chest. That is all temporary and will not last. Her contagious smile will return, this time even brighter and more intoxicating than before. She will embrace the pit and stop searching so hard to fill it and ignore it. Until she feels like herself again. Until she is truly happy again. There are two versions of her. The short term version - the girl who finds herself happy only in the chaos. The long term version - the girl inside who finds herself happy when she doesn't connect her worth to the chaos.
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