I suppose everyone has a self-esteem that hits the floor every so often. Usually mine does and yet it doesn't. It's sad because I love myself but I think sometimes that I'm being fooled. Fooled by myself. I'm also fooling other people, which makes it all that much harder to realize that you have low self-esteem. I know this because if you do have low self-esteem, no one hangs around you or hates being with you.

Every day I do something I regret. Some of them are small and others are bigger. A small regret would be realizing I should have worn something else. A bigger one would be saying something stupid. And when I do, all that my friends see is me shrugging it off, also known as my "mask". The "real" me goes home at the end of the day contemplating what I said or did. By then the "real" me has blown the issues bigger than the world and I get myself upset or worked up as my dad puts it. That same night I will sit in bed and beat myself up emotionally and psychologically. The strange thing is, I will call myself nasty names but I won't believe them. However, I still get very upset. Days, months, even years go by and I will remember what I have done a beat myself up again, then quickly push it out of my head. No one knows. No one knows I beat myself up emotionally and psychologically.

I think my problem is depression. I have told people this hoping to get help but no one believes me. My tiny cry for attention perhaps. I love attention. Every time I think that I have depression I don't know who I am but then I think that I am a 16-year-old girl who likes soccer, playing sports, enjoys having fun etc. I guess I don't know what my personality is and yet I do. I'm caring, energetic, tough and more. Maybe I just want to change myself. Change the things that are bad like yelling at people, using nasty words and hitting people. Then again I'd be changing who I "really" am.

Sadly my life is a vicious circle of never-ending problems and new hatred. The more I think about it the more I want to cry. But I never cry, rather I only cry for selfish reasons. I guess I pity myself. I don't think I do actually. I don't know. There I said it again. The "I don't know" words. I know but I don't. That is friggin' life. Nothing can just be black and white can it? NOTHING! It's all grey.

What I need is a third party in my head telling I what I should do, who I am, and the appropriate decisions to be made. Answering all my questions accurately. All that I can't do is sit back and watch life constantly bless me then hurt me. Karma can be . . . different? Shall we call it?

Although, my life isn't all that bad. Currently I live in a house, with a loving family, an income to get me my necessities, a perfect boyfriend, caring friends and an independent life. What more could a 16-year-old girl ask for? Answers. That's it. Just the answers to our questions.

Another question is, who can answer them? My mother? Father? Everyone one has a different answer. "What about God?" some people say. I'm usually the person who says, "Show me and I'll believe it," but I still pray, address God, whatever you wish to call it, even though science proves otherwise. I can't see any immediate results but people tell me time can only tell. I'm tired of waiting. Waiting for an answer. Waiting for an answer to "Why am I the way I am?".

Mean while I'm being engulfed in hate, disappointment, and self worthlessness. People take their own lives to stop the pain. The pain of living. The only thing that keeps me going is the curiosity of what happens next in my life and the fact that I can't hurt myself even if I needed to. Actually those aren't the only things. Love does. I love being in love and feeling loved. When I am being loved by my boyfriend everything feels like it will be all okay. Like there is a tomorrow. But I feel I must act perfect just so he'd like me because I love him. I want him to love the "real" me. I'm afraid to show him me in case what he sees is disappointing. That's why this poem is here, and it explains everything.

The Paintbrush

I keep my paintbrush with me wherever I may go,

In case I need to cover up, so the real me doesn't show.

I'm so afraid to show you me, afraid of what you'll do,

I'm afraid you'll laugh or say mean things; afraid I might lose you.

I'd like to remove all the layers, to show you the real, true me,

But I want you to try to understand; I need you to like what you see.

So if you'll be patient and close your eyes, I'll remove the coats real slow,

Please understand how much it hurts, to let the real me show.

Now that my coats are all stripped off, I fell naked, bare and cold,

And if you still find me pleasing, you are a friend pure as gold.

I need to save my paint brush tough, and hold it in my hand,

I need to keep it handy in case someone doesn't understand.

So please protect me, my dear friend, and thanks for loving me true,

And please let me keep my paintbrush with me, until I love me, too.

-Taken from the book Taste Berries for Teens

But I do love me. I just want everyone else to, too.

So I'm back to the beginning, wondering why someone might not like me, beating myself senseless, crying myself to sleep, then it just goes on. Why?