Blank Stares

Don’t look up. Ignore them. Keep going.

Scott McEyecontact

Keep your eyes down. Keep them away from those that you pass. Keep them where no one can see what’s inside of them. Keep your eyes down to the ground.

Don’t dare to look up. Avoid confrontation form a passerby. Avoid the uncomfortable feeling of having your eyes meet with a stranger. If you keep your eyes down, you’ll avoid all of the discomfort and simply watch where you’re walking.

Watch where you’re going. Stay out of everyone’s way. Don’t touch their shoulders. Don’t do anything that will make you stand out. Don’t draw attention to yourself.

I’m not afraid of looking up. It’s just unpleasant. When you do look up, you see into people’s blank, expressionless faces. You see through the shield that they put up when they’re with people that they know. Their defenses are lowered and what takes their places are raw emotion.

grass grey alone symmetrical
Photo by Serkan Göktay on Pexels.com

When I look up to see this emotion, it feels relatable… and that alone is depressing. When I stop to really look into these stranger’s eyes, they’re no happy than I am. They’re just going on with their lives in the same way that I do, with the same existential questions that I have. When I truly gaze into their face, the gateway to the soul, all I see is the same sadness that I have.

When I see the eyes of people older and younger than me, I become aware of the never-ending escape from the misery that I feel every day. People everywhere deal with the same issues that I have. To some, that may feel comforting; knowing that nothing will change and that you are as happy as you will ever be. For me, it is a rude awakening – an awakening that makes you consider if it’s truly worth seeing tomorrow.

But if I keep my eyes down, it’s easier to pretend that tomorrow will be better. If I avoid these blank stares that remind me of the inescapable future. If I simply avoid looking anywhere but my feet, I’ll keep the illusion that it will all be okay within my reach.

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