I am always surprised when somebody is taken in by my facade.
Mark Twain once said, "What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself." People describe me as calm, organised, responsible, rational, nice, kind. Of course, I know better.
Yet despite my flaws, people actually seem to like me. Not everybody, naturally, but enough people. My family, partner, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, some strangers. And I wonder, do they like me for, or in spite of, my flaws? Or only because I have them so well hidden?
I worry about it, because I have learned that self-preservation comes with a price, in the form of a painstakingly maintained veil, an ever-present layer between us and the people in our lives. Essentially, the presence of that layer is the difference between like and love. Because you cannot love a veneer, no matter how shiny and pretty and enviable it is.
I am afraid to show my failures, to own them as part of my life story. As surprised as I am when people admire me - when they buy the facade - it's what I want. It's what I strive for.
I worry, because I wonder whether I have spent my life fashioning a mask, rather than being true to myself.
Am I real?
Am I real?
"We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin."
— Andre Berthiaume
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Sometimes, inspiration lives in the most unlikely places.