It’s all an act.

I was bullied a lot at school. I’ve been to many schools – boarding, international, state – and in some way or another I was bullied at all of them. I guess that goes to show I don’t fit in anywhere, but I already knew that. At one of them I was told that I could make it stop if I could just change my behaviour, act like I belonged, fit in. The problem is, I was already acting just as hard as I could to simply keep my head above water.I was doing my best to belong and it was never enough, not by a long shot.

I work so hard to exude a persona of normality, to pretend that everything’s ok even when it’s not and when I can’t act any more, I simply withdraw. Even what I write on here is an edited version of the truth. I censor myself so as not to let people get too close, to know the real me.

It’s self defense, for as long as I can remember whenever I do let my guard down, I get hurt worse than ever before. At least when the public face is attacked it doesn’t cut quite so deep. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had groups of friends. Admittedly they tend to be groups where I’ve existed on the periphery – useful when nobody else is around but not really worth wasting your time on. But that’s been enough, I’m so desperate to be liked and to fit in that I’ll accept that without question and I’ll be happy with it.

And slowly, I’ll relax, cracks will start to appear in the perfect mask and little slivers of “me” will escape. Those slivers will expand to expose whole facets of my personality until *BANG* I’ve gone too far. People realise the real me and are horrified. Just like that, I’ve lost another set of friends.

Only one person’s ever got all the way in, didn’t run when the cracks appeared, instead appreciated them and drew closer. But in the end, the result was the same and because they were so close the pain is unbearable.

So I will continue to act, play the part of Ana, the public persona because without it I’m alone.

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2 Responses to It’s all an act.

  1. Chapati says:

    I guess I’m basing this purely on what you write so don’t know what these ‘cracks’ are, but you sound like a very interesting, kind and caring person, and I really don’t think you have any reason to hide away.

    I don’t know how bad the bullying was, but kids can be cruel, and I think school is a basically a community where you’re either bullied to an extent, or are a bully. As we get older we tend to work out a lot quicker who we’re going to get on with, and who we’re not.

    Relationships can be hard for hundreds of reasons.

    I had a point, but I’ve forgotten what it is *looks embarrassed* Basically, don’t be afraid to be yourself!

  2. Bob says:

    I agree with Chapati’s comment re: the school thing – I maybe had four or five friends in middle school, and there really was no middle-ground; people were either your friend or sided with the bullies.

    I don’t think I know many people who show the ‘real’ them to the world. We all hide our crazy from both the people we hardly know and the people we truly love. Try not to think of your public face as a false one – it really isn’t. Most of your friends can at least see through part of your mask anyway, and I’m sure the same is true for all of us. I’m certain you can see some of my insecurities!

    Basically, I don’t think you should be depressed about hiding some of yourself away. Take heart that as a lot of people get to know you (whether a friend like me, or someone closer) they don’t want to run! Do you really want to be friends with people who only want to know what’s on the surface? There are plenty of people like that, but they spend their lives becoming ever emptier shells of people; becoming truly superficial. You’re much more than that, and we’re all much better people because of you.

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