There’s a fine line between knowing who you are and what others know of what you are. There was a point in my life when I related to everything that Holden Caulfield said, and that’s why I was so drawn to the book. He talked about having a persona, a face, for every person he met, since everyone else was a phoney and not worth revealing the true inner self to.
I fell in love with the idea of it because as an eighth grader that seemed so true. No one was being a real person, hence there was no reason for myself to be either. This fell into a scheme of imitating the other person’s character as if to impress them or to be like them. I felt like I held some sort of secret, some sort of power and duty, as if I were really protecting who I was from outsiders who would never understand.
My practice broke apart when my history teacher asked me if I understood that Holden was the biggest phoney in the book. I wasn’t sure what to think of it, except to inquire more. And it was true – a simple truth that I hadn’t been able to realized because of my infatuation with his character.
But I think that as humans, it’s easy to fall in love with the appearance of the act and become broken in spirit when we do realize it was all an act. Whether that’s a magic trick that surpasses all of your mundane expectations, or a person you thought you were in love with. Essentially being a human is nothing more than an act in itself because we’re constantly morphing and realizing who we are. And as horribly fake the act might be at times, you have to realize that it’s part of our nature to self-preserve and self-protect.
And I think that’s okay. It’s about learning how to reconcile with the act and the genuine spirit behind the trick.