Pretense

by TurnTrout 1y29th Jul 20181 min read1 comment

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There's a kind of yearning, to be that person who can do those things - this is self-actualization, yet corrupted. I often feel pulled in this way. I find myself wanting to be a certain person now, to be producing and being and feeling that way now, and I catch myself acting, speaking, signalling as if I were there now. As if I could make people happy by tiling the universe with smiley-faces.

There's a revulsion that comes with this, for me - the sense of wearing a heavy coat, of playing a role, of acting instead of connecting. At times, there is a desire to connect: I begin to speak earnestly, but then comes indecision, a "social acceptance" reflex blunting my emotions and diluting my speech. And then, pain, regret, and shame. Even now, it looms: Can I even post this?

There's a certain lightness I catch and wield, from time to time. The glimmer of a fresh idea, the flow of words straight from the heart through the fingertips, the carefree, liberating simplicity of dropping pretense in a conversation. Why is this so rare?

I feel now the staggering weight of a day's trivialities - the subconscious obeisances paid to circumstance and habit, the pretentious acting out of cached responses, the molding of personality to meet the Past's expectations. There are massive costs - in time, in experience, in moments.

And yet, focusing on "being oneself", one comes to fret whether they're doing it right, or enough, or too much. Self-consciousness takes over, and back on goes the coat.

After CFAR, there was a precious week when I channeled myself during these moments. Pain did not clear its desk for joy, but I paid attention. My life beat to a satisfied rhythm. I felt no urge towards trivial things, towards pretense.

Weeks passed, and I slowly forgot. My experience of the workshop faded into a collection of moments: quietly gazing at the furious red skyline; laughing and singing despite the iceberg inching closer; hearing, and being heard. Ever-so-close bonds loosened, and then crumbled a bit, their essence blown away into the now-yawning distances between us.

I want to take off the coat.

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