by Ida B
Sometimes you get so caught up you can't remember what you were hiding in the first place
|Who is that? Who’s that face over there? Not me, no, surely not me. I’ve seen that face before, I know, but it’s most definitely not mine. The lips are all wrong, and those eyes! They look so dead, so coolly calm. That’s not me at all! Oh, this is so confusing!
She touched her face, pulling the lips this way and that, wrinkling the nose that wasn’t right at all. Was this really how the world saw her? This confident and self-contained and terribly steeled looking person? How shocked must her friends have been when she opened up to them! But then, maybe she looked different to them than she did to herself. Now that she thought about it, she was so different when friends were there.
When there was no one left to pretend for but herself, this was who she was.
Wait, ‘pretend for’? I’m not pretending! That’s who I am!
For everyone else maybe. They didn’t need to know who she really was. Of course, they knew that she looked like this person in the mirror on occasion. They’d told her so, or at least one of them had. But she was lying to the mirror right now, wasn’t she? This was a façade just as much as the other one was.
So if I’m not really who I pretend to be with friends, and I’m not this person right here, then who am I?
That friend poking fun at her was what had started it all; these staring contests into her own eyes, into her own skin and nose and lips and everything else. Because emotions are displayed on your face, right? If she was acting while around friends then when she was alone, the real her was all that there was, right? But then she’d started checking, started paying attention and the face still wasn’t right.
So she was lying to herself too? That had to be it. Denial. How long had she been in denial then, she wondered. Must’ve been a while if she couldn’t answer that.
No, that wasn’t right either, because she had friends that had suddenly been there within the year, with no absolute day that she’d decided that that’s what they were to her. Then it’d been gradual, had crept up like the new friend climbing the ranks in her heart until they weren’t “new”, they were “best” and staying there.
And this was not an altogether different situation when thought of correctly. Denial, once a person gets used to it, is a great skill to have when the stuff roiling beneath its glossy veneer is ignored (especially those particular pieces of stuff that strip bare someone’s mental façade). It lets people be happy after or during horrible events, which is something that everyone needs from time to time.
Friendship, likewise, is a wonderful thing and a good tool for coping in stressful situations. The only important difference between the two is that friendship is either real or not. With denial, whatever the cover up is, it is without a doubt fake. Even if the person has been swimming in it so long that they can’t tell which parts are false anymore, there is still the knowledge that somewhere in the tangled forest of their mind, is a plastic tree or two… or fifteen or thirty.