It can be confronting, when a person unbeknown to you, tells you the truth about yourself.
|It can be confronting, to say the least, when a person unbeknown to you tells you the truth about yourself. Not tenderly nor harshly, but rather with the frank simplicity that one would use to recite a shopping list, or describe the state of the weather. Not a question, not an answer. No hint of concern or disbelief, of reprove or disregard. No emotions discernable to you at all, really.
What it is, in essence, is nothing more than a comment to you, about you. A simple statement of fact, read aloud to the resounding clash of gavel against a sound block.
You are to yourself as you are to others.
You flinch at their tone, candid and blunt as the hammer they‘ve swung, and for a moment you feel uncomfortable. You shift in your seat, your gaze darts to the floor too quickly. Their eyes don’t bore into you though, like you expect, with judgement or disdain, but rather they flicker lightly across your surface, like they’re noticing something that before they’d never seen.
But they only need a moment, to scan you like one would the blurb of a novel, to know exactly what you’re about. And you wonder, a little confused, how it was that the thick, hard layer of skin you had formed had been so effortlessly pulled away. The one you had constructed, so meticulously and tirelessly, that not even a trickle of poison could seep through your ears and into your conscience.
You almost feel betrayed by it, to let you down now, after the comfort of your years together. But, it seemed the fool in you too had disappeared, and no longer were you seduced by the belief that you and your skin were one and the same. And now, that it seemed to have been shed by another’s hand, you felt stretched out, thinner than before. Like a patient on the table, you could say, with the flaps of their stomach peeled back to reveal the gizzards and guts and blood of secrets better left unseen.
But seen they had become, and as the heat of blood rushes to your face you take a moment to compose yourself. You settle in your seat again, posture relaxed and unperturbed. And you agree.
Yes, sir. Yes ma‘am.
I am to myself as I am to others.
Like you aren’t affected at all. And then they shrug, indifferent, like it was of no matter of consequence or cause of concern. Or perhaps they had noticed the flush of your cheeks, or the discomfort in your voice, and felt it better to lay the subject to rest.
Either way you find yourself unhinged, disturbed by the feeling that, finally, you have been caught out. And as you glance down, the shredded skin of a once homelier self pooled at your feet, you cannot shake the naked vulnerability you now feel with the knowledge that perhaps you weren’t everything you thought you were, but rather the design of foreign opinions, the product of familiar voices. The sculpture of every other outside influence that carved a place in your existence, to shape a name and face and identity that was, in the bleakness of reality, no longer really yours.