Evolving Self-Portrait – January 29, 2005

I wrote this a couple of years ago. I’m less afraid now than I was then, but much of it still applies. File under: really long-ass paragraphs.

“Functions well in society.”  I feel like I should write that on my resume.  “No trace of true levels of insecurity or paranoia.”  I do get along well.  I am friendly, funny, hard-working, productive, smart–a whole litany of good things.  As my friend Jon put it:  “If someone asked me who was the least neurotic person I know, I’d say X.”  But all I am is really good at hiding it.  I’m a fake.  A chameleon who gets along by pretending to be nicer than she is, who gauges people really well and gives them what they want to see and hear.

That’s my talent.  If you want the sophisticated, well-spoken woman who dresses elegantly and looks good in a fancy restaurant, I can deliver.  If you want a bad girl who swears and likes to ride in fast cars alongside the ocean and laughs too loudly, I can be her.  If you want the shy, bookish girl who has a wild streak, I’m her, too.  I can be ethereal and otherworldly and aloof; I can be a social butterfly who’s the life of the party; I can be the alterna-chick or the driven career woman or the wounded innocent or the strong, kickass heroine who doesn’t take any shit.  I can mix and match for different occasions, changing my clothes and my hair and my mannerisms.  It’s easy to lose myself in the game, to let myself fall into the role and make up an entire backstory for my character.  Maybe she is dating a famous television star or is really a thousand years old or is a superhero sent secretly to Earth and only now discovering her destiny.  Really, I am all these things.  They are all aspects of me; it just depends which one I let people see.

At heart, I’m a dork.  I love to read curled up in a chair in my apartment, watching rain on the windows, or to rush to an open window and lean out and feel the wind in my hair.  I love to spend hours on the Internet, reading celebrity interviews or fanfiction or writing stories or scripts or poetry or rambling in my weblog.  I love to create new websites, just to feel that I am making something lasting, something that will help other people over the rough spots.  I love to watch DVDs with friends, sitting on the floor and sipping hot water with lime juice and eating bread dipped in olive oil.  I love to go hiking, walking through beautiful vistas and valleys, feeling myself sweat and breathe heavily and reassuring myself that I am alive.  I love to walk along the beach and listen to the ocean.  I love to watch the clouds.  I love to hear the roar of a rock concert drowning out my hearing, to pee in the men’s room because the line in the women’s room is too long.  I love to go places by myself but hate the trill of fear that creeps up my spine at the thought that I am really fucking stupid to do this yet again and someday my luck really will run out.  I love to go to museums with someone special, or go to the movies and sit in the best seats and let ourselves get swept away.  I love to shop at flea markets and at Rampage, to buy CDs and steal music online, to create my own things and bring them to life.  To try new restaurants and learn to cook a new dish.  To ice skate or kickbox or push the boundaries in some other way.  But I don’t know how to tell all this to people.  I don’t think I’m pretty enough to hold a man’s attention for the rest of his life.  I think my flaws outshine my virtues.  I remember what it was like to be made fun of in school, and am resistant to opening myself up to ridicule again.  I have to control what people see when they look at me.  I am terrified that someone will catch me when I am swept away with emotion, will see the naked wonder and joy and vulnerability in my eyes and see through whatever facade I am wearing, will take away my control and capture my gaze and smile at me as if to say, I understand.

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