Do you ever feel like you’re pretending to be someone you’re not? Like you’re wearing a mask that doesn’t really reflect who you are? I feel that way sometimes. I feel that I put on masks depending on the role I’m playing. Sometimes I’m the high tech professional, leading my team through complicated projects. That’s when I’m decisive, thoughtful but respectful of everyone’s opinion. Sometimes I put on the mask of entrepreneur. That’s when I’m quick to act, enthusiastic, energetic and aggressive in my drive to succeed. Some nights I put on the mask of friend and then I’m funny, outgoing, a bit rude and somewhat abrasive. Other evenings I put on the mask of host and then I’m polite, intelligent, a great conversationalist and a talented cook. Sometimes I even put on the mask of a blogger and then I’m authoritative, provocative, a bit arrogant and a good story teller.
Masks are fine to a degree, but when I spend too much time wearing them I get tired. It’s exhausting to pretend to be someone I’m not and it’s unnecessary. The real me is just fine in any of those situations. In fact, the real me would be great in all of them, just as good as the mask.
I Love You Baby, Lots and Lots
When I first start dating Julie, I put on the mask of prospective boyfriend. I was romantic but not too clingy. I was nice but not too nice. I was aggressive but not too pushy. I was even emotional but not too touchy feely. In fact, I put on the mask of the perfect man. Unfortunately for me (actually, very fortunately) Julie saw right through my bull shit. I dropped the mask on occasion. For example, we spent most of our third date at a little Irish pub telling each other every secret we ever had. For the most part though, I kept hiding who I really was.
We struggled with this for a few months. She wanted to know the real me and I wanted to keep wearing my mask. I wasn’t doing it intentionally, I just slipped into this mode because I thought that’s what I needed to do in order to win her over. I liked her so much that I pretended to be someone I wasn’t just so she’d like me. Doesn’t that sound silly? I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t so she’d like the person I was. Ridiculous.
So after a few months, we found ourselves sitting in Julie’s living room where she told me she wasn’t quite sure where this relationship was going. And here’s where something funny happened, I dropped my mask and I was just myself. I stopped trying to impress her by being the perfect boyfriend and I simply told her what was on my mind. I told her what I wanted, what I was afraid of and what made me happy. I wouldn’t say our relationship was perfect from that point on but it was certainly a lot better than it was before. And a 15 months later, we got married (I love stories with a happy ending!)
So here I am, and I’m still wearing a few masks, despite telling you all that I wanted to around people who are completely honest with themselves and others. Even worse, I’m tired of wearing these masks. They exhaust me. I don’t want to keep switching from mode to mode, always figuring out what I should be saying and how I should be acting. So I’ve resolved to try and live without the masks and just behave as myself. I want people to know me, the real me, not the mask I wear to impress them or get the job done.
So Who Am I Under The Mask?
- I love to argue and discuss concepts love, friendship and sex
- I don’t believe in social norms. I think we make too many assumptions about what’s right and what’s wrong and I love challenging those. Some people find this offensive.
- I fear not leaving a legacy and I’m jealous of those who have
- I enjoy making decisions
- I dislike detail work like writing long documents but I like coming up with plans
- I’m very happy when I’m interacting with people
- I’m an atheist
- I love my wife and enjoy being married to her. I didn’t think this would be possible after my divorce, I thought I would never find anyone to love again, but I was wrong.
- I’m very competitive and I don’t like losing
- I love eating, the only flavors I dislike are anise and mint
- I have a hard time sympathizing with people who I think should be able to help themselves
- I’m a softie for people and animals who I feel are trying really hard but are helpless. I cry at movies where dogs get hurt for example because they’re such loyal creatures and love us unconditionally. Even the thought of something bad happening to my dog, Daisy, is enough to stress me out.
- I have a very rich imagination
- I’m willing to try almost anything once
- I want very much to be successful with a business venture like Diamonds or Dogs. I base at least some of my self worth on this even though I think I shouldn’t
- I want kids and get excited at the thought of having them
- Sometimes I wish I had more alone time
- I want to leave this world a better place for my kids
- I worry sometimes about the “big picture”. What will happen to this world if our economy collapses? What kind of life will my kids have if our environment is destroyed?
- I’ve always been a bit afraid of the dark.
I could go on but it’s the weekend and I should really go do something productive with my time
Tell me who you are. I don’t care if you do it in comments or in email but I want to hear it. I want my cult to be made up of the people I know, not the people I think I know.