They say that those who laugh the loudest, cry the hardest. I’ve always been one to present myself as a carefree person. Two years ago, I used to act like I didn’t have a single care in the world, while happily running through the motions of life. The truth was that I hid my emotions behind a smile, for I feared that people would judge me for being weak. No matter how terrible a situation was, I still could proclaim, “I’m okay”. Saying those two words were like second nature to me; as instinctive as the urge to breathe.School was stressful for me. In a family where grades are of utmost importance, expectations are set high and stress is a perpetual burden, I’ve had to learn to move on from failure. In Secondary 1, I failed my first history assignment and math written tasks, lost what I thought were my best friends, and was not particularly the most well-liked person in class. Even so, I was able to suppress my emotions. No one knew what I was going through. I didn’t want anyone to know. However, one night, when I laid in bed and stared up at my ceiling in the pitch black room, something hit me: Maybe the pressure from examinations was getting too hard to handle, the loss of friends was starting to take its toll on me or I simply was overwhelmed by the burdens on my shoulders. Regardless, I started unravelling at the seams. Before I knew it, a torrent of tears streaked my face, my body shaking with sadness and pain and. It was obvious that I’d spent the night crying, for I appeared the next day at school with red eyes. Despite the curious looks that were cast at me, that night made me realise how good it felt to have my burdens lifted off from my shoulders, to relieve myself of all the pain. I didn’t have to be strong for everyone, and I didn’t need to bear the weight of the world in silence. Looking back, it’s clear that it was foolish of me to bottle up my feelings because I was scared of being judged, afraid of being known as fragile. My point is that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s normal to have a bad day, and cry because of that. Crying is healthy for one’s soul and mind. Don’t bottle up emotions because you’re scared of what others might think of you. It can hurt. Everyone undergoes the same phase at some point in life, and everyone feels broken sometimes. Others don’t understand, and my life isn’t mine if I constantly let others opinions about me control it. It’s okay to struggle for a while and let people see that. The next time you feel that the world is crashing down around you, don’t say “I’m okay” because you aren’t, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s okay to not be okay, and that’s being human.