Sunday, September 27, 2015

“You don't look fake when you unconsciously pretend.”

Confession Time:  I am a really good actor.

I mean, I am phenomenal.  When I was in elementary school, I was given the best speaking lines in the church pageants.  In high school, I attended all the forensics tournaments and directed segments for competition.  I was voted "Most likely to win an Oscar" my senior year.  But I'm not talking about acting on stage, where it's safe to be a character and praised for being entertaining and obviously engaged in pretend play.  This is about putting on a face and presenting myself to the world on a daily basis.  For this, I am colossal.

The best role I've ever cast myself in, is a bubbly blonde whose snark and wit often earns her big laughs.  She's a smiler--been described as inspiring and confident.  I've been portraying her so long, she often feels real.  Most people don't seem to notice that she part of a life-long improvisation.  We all know what "normal" looks like and I've done research, like any other actor worth her salt.

It's easy to show people what they want to see; they usually do the majority of the work me by ignoring subtleties and discontinuity.  It's not hard to change my words to fit what I should be feeling or how I understand what needs to be done to cope with stress.  I've lied to therapists, friends, family, and occasionally myself in this aspect.

The truth beneath this persona, is that I am tired and frightened.  I don't know what reaction I'll receive if I am unabashedly candid.  That perhaps my mood is so easily corruptible, I'm viewed as unstable, weird, or the dreaded crazy.  Because I am unusual--often feeling broken and unfixable--there is no place for me outside of my own mind.  I do not want to answer your ritualistic greeting with, "I'm fine."  But because, "I feel overwhelmed with minor grievances and daily living is exhausting." is a bit of a harsh bummer, I tend to retreat into the likeable and healthier version of myself.  I am a real adult, with responsibilities and obligations.  But I seriously have a hard time getting my shit together most days. 

Today's subject line quote is  ― Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut


  1. I find this blog to be a bit sad really. Not being able to be ones self and feeling the need to "act" or rather lie to everyone on a daily basis is just a complete waste of time, energy, and existence.

    Being a strong individual and being able to love yourself without persecution of how others perceive you is true freedom.

    If acting like someone else is all you can be or do on an every day basis, you might want to re-evaluate what makes you happy in life, because let's face it, life is too short not to be you.

    "And remember my sentimental friend, that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others" -- The Great And Powerful Wizard of OZ

  2. I'm afraid my intentions were not very clear, as this was written in the heat of an emotional battle against my depression yesterday.

    I did not mean for this to come across as though I am never able to feel comfortable in my own skin. This was meant to be a look into the thought process of someone who suffers from a mood disorder and the expectation of society to have a "chin-up" attitude.

    My brain chemistry is impaired. I am medicated, but am still in a transitional period of finding a good fit and what interferes with my mood and medication. On particularly bad days, I am extremely overwhelmed with emotional instability and cumbersome thoughts. Because the normal response to "How is your day?" is usually, "Oh fine." it can be very taxing to feel like you can't tell people how you really feel when suffering from depression.

    It can also be isolating to have these thoughts and feelings and realize that many other people do not, and that many times I myself do not actually feel overwhelmingly sad and useless. It would be really nice to answer truthfully that "I'm not doing well mentally today and hope that tomorrow is better." However, so many people have such a negative stigma around depression and mental health that it is scary to be honest.

  3. I identify with this so deeply. In a recent discussion with my parents I explained that I never really felt like I shared my entire self with anyone. In some regards this is an act. To my coworkers and casual acquaintances I'm strong and funny, and always ready for anything. To my family I'm quiet and guarded but silly, sweet and kind. To my boyfriend I'm sexy, funny and silly. To my online friends I'm sometimes angry, full of snark and vim and vigor. To myself I'm all of these things but with insecurities and self doubt that are sometimes so crippling that I can't deal with talking to anyone. To myself I have panic attacks because I'm afraid people hate me for no reason.
    Who says the act isn't part of us? It's just not all of us. Thank you for sharing this!

  4. I've been in your shoes, especially the part where you say that expressing your true feelings might make people perceive you as unstable, weird, and crazy. I wore a mask of stability, positivity, and rationality - until I couldn't take it anymore and then I would erupt at the absolute worst times. People thought I was difficult, unreasonable, overly dramatic, stubborn, and uncooperative. It wasn't until I was diagnosed with my true mood disorder, Bipolar II, and received the correct medication that I stopped having those episodes and realized that not everyone has to try so hard not to let the mask slip. I didn't know what it was like to be happy until several years later, when the medicine had evened me out and many of my outside stressors went away. I could finally experience emotionally upsetting things and not go off the deep end over them. Thanks for sharing this. I know it wasn't easy.



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