Faceless

It all started as a game.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a people-watcher.

As a child, I would watch people for hours before even attempting to talk to them.

I’d scrutinize how you spoke. What you wore. When you laughed. What you liked. Whom you talked to.

I would watch and watch, try to figure out who you were. What you wanted.

And once I put together the pieces of your identity, I would form my own, making sure they clicked.

It was like a puzzle that only I could finish and it amused me to have that sort of power over you: to control exactly what you see.

But under all of that, I’d ensured that I was that girl:

The girl you want to speak to.

The girl you share all your secrets with.

The girl you like.


I flit from one person to the next, as graceful as a butterfly.

Always smiling. Always pleasing.

You come to me when you don’t have anyone else, and it’s my shoulder you cry on, it’s into my ears you whisper your darkest secrets.

I soothe. I comfort. I encourage. I motivate. I charm.

And when I’m finally alone, I laugh.

I laugh at the world, at how gullible you are, to think you know me, to trust me the way you do.

I laugh till I cry and then I cry till I can’t breathe.

The tears never end, it seems, they flow and flow relentlessly, leeching me of everything.

The real joke was on me, all along.

And I’d never realized.


I look in the mirror and don’t recognize the shadow that looks back into my eyes.

I don’t ‘like’ her.

In fact, I despise her.

I see myself wrapping my hands around her throat and squeezing until the light slowly fades from her eyes.

And then, I realize the girl is me.

The irony: I’d gained the affection of everyone else, only to realize that I couldn’t win me over too.

Alone, I’m a coward. I’m despicable. Spineless. A doormat. A hypocrite.

I morph myself to suit the people around me. My very identity is built on everyone else’s desires.

I’m no one without someone to please. Nothing without a task to complete.

And there is nothing left of ‘me’ now, of the person I could have been.

Before. Before all the masks.

 


When I look back, all I see is crushed dreams, and when I look forward, I see an eternity of nothingness.

But it’s what I see when I look within that truly scares me.

Underneath all my masks, I am faceless.

 

Photo by John Noonan on Unsplash

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