We all do it, all of us. We pose. We play roles. We say things we don`t want to say.
Once, I took this fakery to be an inevitable part of human life. Not only did I not see it as wrong, but – what was perhaps a greater tragedy – I saw no other way of living. After all, how will we live if we constantly tell people how we feel about them, I reasoned? Won`t the world fill with violence? Murder? Wars?
It is filled already.
Humans are great but fallen creatures, and it is partly our ‘fallenness’ that makes us grasp and search for life where life cannot be found, and ignore the cry of our heart, which we should take heed to. And so, after the awe-filled, hopeful heart of our childhood has been beaten into a shape which fits the ‘normal’ world around us, we no longer see the tragedy. And so a well-polished poser like myself – once a wonder-filled, bright-eyed boy whose heart was later buried under tons of falseness, brought in its place by the pain of rejection we all suffer – today wonders what it is that makes him so unstable, ungrounded on the inside.
When a man spends a lifetime deceiving his own self, he often loses it, as if a dark, malicious god answers his unspoken prayer by taking that which the man wishes to hide away. Many of us have begun their journey in such a way, and although some may still wonder what is their real self, most of us are certain that whatever it is, it is either too wicked to be brought out again, or too weak and pitiful, and therefore, too shameful for anyone to see.
Like most, I have been living with a false self for many years although, thankfully, I have never quite gotten to the point of accepting it, as if I knew, deep down in the youngest, not-quite-dead-yet part of me, that it is not myself, but a necessary disguise. As if by my bitter hatred for my weakness and later, by my deception, I was somehow confirming that in my true heart, I was in fact as strong, and as true as I wished to be.
For decades I suffered until I could suffer no longer and surrendered to death and the terrible, hidden force which I did not know but cried out to in my dying soul.
But then, oh wonder – I came alive again, more than I had ever been before…
Of course, there are those who suffer worse than I did. I speak of those whose false self is raised upon a more solid ground than mine ever was, those who have so hid their true self behind the mask that it is no longer in the way of the mission they believe must be accomplished so that the world (or their long-dead, unsatisfied parent, or even they themselves) will accept them at last, and secure a place for them. Beaten long ago into submission, the real, once glorious self, is no longer in charge. Its ‘childish’ dreams, hopes, and desires, are snuffed out, replaced by survival skills that, though unable to bring real joy, ensure success, a high place in the hierarchy of the jungle…
In the world as we know it true people are a rarity.
Take today for example. I have been at my present job for nearly three years. Although I love the work and would not trade it for most things that the market can offer someone like me at this moment, I must confess that, I have been growing restless lately. My heart is no longer stirred as it once was at the possibilities to make a difference, and my mind does not stay focused as it did before. In fact, you can perhaps take a guess at where I am at this very moment, as I write this. Yes, I am at work, doing what I enjoy most.
It happened only a few moments ago. As one of my clients, a young man, was reached down to take a document in order to answer a question I had asked, I was already regretting to have asked it. I stood there, saying nothing, being nothing (or at least not that what I should have been), slowly becoming aware of the rift that exists within me. In all truth, the information which he was seeking to present to me, was of no interest to me. As was the whole issue we were discussing. Yet, I lingered, looking like I was available to him, while I was not. Then, time stopped. The seconds that had passed while he was picking up the paper and searching the needed paragraph in it, slowed down and came to a halt as I watched, helpless to do anything but observing this deep division within myself. During those seconds – or maybe minutes, who could tell – I did not know what to do, or what do be.
I know, of course, that we have all had ‘real’, and far worse experiences, tragedies even, but the fact of this only proves my point – why couldn`t I be myself, and stay truthful, even in such a small matter? What has that division done to me, over the years, that I have lost the precious ability to act, speak, and simply be – all from the same self?
Where has my integrity gone – the integrity I was born desiring to have but never quite had? Has it simply vanished, along with the Eden we once lost? Or has it been…stolen?
How often do you endure a conversation because…well, because you have no other way of going through it? How often do you stay quiet when there is a scream inside of you? How often do you stay in silence, confused, scared, and alone in yourself, while others need you in their suffering, and their joy?
Two natures are at war within me, like two beasts struggling for survival. One is cold and calculating, it works with facts and little else. It promises security, reward, and much gain. In exchange, it asks of me to commit a murder and perform a funeral. It does not mind me remembering the dearly departed with joy, and it has no problem with me coming to the grave with flowers every now and again. To get its approval and eternal assistance, I have to do the only thing it required me to do – kill, and bury my victim…
The other nature is the opposite – it promises nothing, and it offers nothing. But it has a sweet voice, the sweetest of them all. When it speaks to me, it brings whispers of a world that bears no scars. It sings like the birds on the roof of my childhood home. It dances like the countless sounds which were once blended into one eternal song, back in those forgotten summer nights. It fights like those men of the legends who long time ago stood up against the evil done by other, weaker and wicked men. This is the part of me that I must kill.
I do not doubt that it will work…I know it, because I see every day around me the lives of those who have done it, those who seem to be free to live the way they want to.
But I suspect they cry at night, and, although no tears ever well up in their eyes, the tomb within them does not give them rest. To live red-handed is not to live at all.
I will not do it.
I will not kill my heart.
It was once buried, but it never died. It took a hand, far stronger than mine, to rouse it, and it is now alive.
The veil of fakery I choose to keep at bay until one day I am free from it forever.