Fake I.D.

Facing the toughest semester of his life at NC State, Caleb Drum ’20 finds strength and motivation in family and friends.

My door is closed, face darkened by the shadows, as the weight of all my classes and extracurriculars comes to be too heavy upon my shoulders. I hide my face as the tears roll silently down my cheeks and I make sure that no one can see them even though I know I am alone. However, even though they do not see me cry, they can tell what I have been doing. They see the somber look in my eyes, where enthusiasm once glistened, and the drawn cast mouth where a smile used to be. I deflect their expressions of worry and guarantee them that everything is fine, but in my mind the pity party continues to rage on and I feel myself slipping deeper and deeper into the internal buzz of shame and sense of failure.

“I’m sorry, the old Caleb can’t come to the phone right now.”

This doesn’t sound like the chipper Caleb that everyone is used to seeing and talking to, whom they normally see laughing and being slightly awkward, but just enough to be funny. The reason for the discrepancy lies in the fact that the two are separate individuals. One represents the true identity of myself, a quirky and kind individual who loves life and values everything around him, while the other is the true identity succumbing to the pressures of school and multiple responsibilities, gradually transforming into something so foreign that my friends and I find disturbing and heart-breaking.

So if you are hurting right now or later on, know that there are people that care about you and don’t want you to put on a mask, but want you to shine.

“Why?”

I’m writing this as a warning to be cautious of letting yourself slip so deep within the stress and worry that you begin to lose your identity and become someone so starkly different from who you really are that you can’t recognize yourself anymore. This semester has been one of the most trying out of my entire college career, and I felt myself fading away and being replaced by a dejected person who could only see the inadequacy of himself. I knew I shouldn’t have taken on this new identity, but it was easier to accept this injured state than fight the sadness that seemed to be overcoming me.

“Oh, causes he’s…”

However, my sulking didn’t last because with some tough love from my friends and family, I was able to see the hope of a new day. I shook off the costume that I had been wearing for days and gradually became myself again, only this time a tad bit stronger and with more experience. Emotions are so essential to being human and to express them is only natural, but we cannot dwell in them for too long or we risk losing ourselves. We can fight this on our own and succeed to some extent, but most of the time it requires the support and love from others, especially those closest to us to help us find ourselves again.

“Whoops, never mind he is right here.”

So if you are hurting right now or later on, know that there are people that care about you and don’t want you to put on a mask, but want you to shine. They will understand what you are going through and will help you through whatever is overwhelming you. Be yourself and don’t lose what makes you, simply you.