Have you ever been alone in a crowded room?

I was listening to one of my all time favorite songs, "Dark Blue," by Jacks Mannequin. In the chorus, the lead singer, Andrew, inquires "have you ever been alone in a crowded room?" I paused the song immediately as tears welled up in my eyes. I listen to this song all of the time, but it suddenly hit me at that moment that my life is the epitome of being alone in a crowded room.

Upon hearing the question at first, one might search for the sensical part of the song lyric. Alone in a crowded room? Well if the room is crowded and I'm in it, how could I possibly be alone?

If I'm in a room with other people, that doesn't guarantee anything about those other people. Those other people might never look at me, never listen to me, never even notice I'm standing in the room at all; those people might have absolutely no idea who I am and might not even have a fleeting impulse in which they would ever want to meet me.

I sit in crowded rooms every day in class. I hide behind my laptop screen unless the professor addresses me. I go for weeks without speaking one word to anybody except my teachers who have an innert requirement to speak to me because I have paid copious amounts of tuition money for them to teach me. Otherwise I hide because of what I know would find me if I dared to look up. I have seen all of the sneers in the world while seated in one room and I do not care to subject myself to anything resembling them ever again. I instead change my classes into masquerades in which I sport a disguise of a girl who doesn't allow others to push her down with the use of painful words and cruel facial expressions.

I dress up as that girl; I've designed a costume. I even think that I have a particular hairstyle for her. I become the disguise. I become the girl in my dreams, the girl that can smile at the world even though she knows nobody will smile back. I become her for those two hours, but I cannot hide my true feelings behind makeup and fashion choices for any longer than that. I go home and spend most of my days crying so much that the costume washes off and my real identity appears yet again. It has that stinging sensation, like when a part of the body that usually is not exposed to sunlight feels the sun's blazing rays for the first time. My streaming tears, eyeliner smudged all over my face and I realize that I've just returned from a state of being alone in a crowded room.

If outsiders walked into a classroom of mine, they'd see a bunch of scholars just like myself, some talking to each other, some just preparing themselves for an upcoming lecture. They wouldn't see me, the sad friendless girl who has given up on saying hello and smiling at people who just have no inkling of desire to respond. They wouldn't see the girl who has spent forever striving for acceptance to no avail. They wouldn't see me because I wear my disguise to class every day so that nobody knows.

The classroom is just a microcosm of my entire life. I feel this way absolutely everywhere I go and it makes me want to scream so loud, but I know that either nobody would hear me, or that nobody would care.


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