“I’m a stranger in my own life.”
― Lang Leav,
There is always a part of somebody that is never shown to others – like the clothes in your drawer that are buried forever and never see the light of day. But not everyone – to my knowledge – hides their true selves in order to make room for someone they are not. That is my issue.
It is exceptionally hard to talk about myself because I truly don’t know who I am. Understandably so, this is quite obviously a typical state of mind for young people such as myself. However, I do not think my lack of self-awareness and self-identity is due to a chaotic adolescent stage. On the contrary, in fact, I believe that the reason why I have absolutely no clue as to who I am is that I have been playing different roles in front of different people for my entire life.
Bear this in mind: I am no actress. The roles I play I have created myself in order to appeal to people. As an extremely quiet middle child, I had to learn to adapt to different social situations depending on the individuals with whom I interacted with – as all people do. However, it has gotten to the point wherein I can no longer distinguish the person I am with others and the person I am inside. Only in solitude – when I am alone with only my thoughts for company – can I ever come close to who I think I am, and who I believe I should be. For this reason, I feel as if I am constantly shedding skin – layers of plastic that I form in order to hide who I truly am – the softer parts of me are too delicate not to be shielded from other’s potentially dangerous gaze. As the quote says above, I am sometimes “a stranger in my own life” because I have so many different ways of interacting with others, that I occasionally lose a sense of who I actually am.
I like to be a person of little words; I believe that the fewer words one speaks the more impact they can have. As such, I don’t usually open up to many people, let alone individuals I am not comfortable with. Therefore, I make up pieces of me that are more comfortable talking with others. However, as I have previously said, I have created too much of a facade over the years and have lost a portion of myself – especially when presenting myself to others.
The following poem is a response to the multiple facades that I have crafted over time and the effect it has had on my own self-identity.
how many times must
i look in the mirror to to search for
an answer to a question
i don’t know i am looking for?
how many times must
i peel off my skin to make room
for another mask that is not me?
they say a painter paints to
capture real life;
i paint to capture the lives
that are not mine
lives that are as fake to me
as a plastic knife –
built to perform a duty,
but never meant to last.
I find scar tissue above
the natural skin that grows back;
remnants of the plastic covering
that came before it
i no longer remember the
original flesh that hung from
my tired bones, the flesh now replaced by
synthetic sinews and skin cells – woven by
wounds too deep and dangerous to repair,
it is easier to take apart what is not
real, because once you take apart
my real flesh and bone
i cease to exist.
how long must i bury myself
to dig up a pseudo soul that is
now more familiar to me
than my own reflection?
I am tired of hiding
under skin coloured plastic membranes
and artificial smiles,
but destroying what is fraudulent
is better than destroying
what is real
my soul is more fragile than the
walls i put up to protect
what others don’t see is
what happens when plastic armor
tears, (even cellophane
so carefully wrapped tears into shreds sometimes.)
until when i must
i curl under wool blankets and
under darkened ceilings until
raw skin grows back
Like a cocoon, wrapped in the
fragile remains of the
parts i lost of myself –
the parts i no longer recognize.
now I am half skin and half plastic
I am half skin and half plastic
molded by the wounds of war and injury
from inside and outside my head,
from the swords I received when I tried to give
How many times must i
look in the mirror until
i recognize the face that looks back?