Who Are You?

I wonder sometimes
If I know anyone at all.
Or if all I know
Of anyone
Is the image,
The façade,
The carefully crafted lie
They want me to see.

I wonder sometimes
Who you really are.
I know you aren’t really
The person that I see
At work every day.
That’s not really you.
That’s who you believe
The world demands you be.
That’s an image
You have crafted
Carefully, and over time.

An image made to control
What people think of you.
That shows you are responsible.
Professional,
Dependable,
Mature,
Grown up.

You don’t cut your hair
When you want to, do you.
You cut it to maintain
An image
You want people to believe.

You don’t buy the clothing
You want to, do you.
You buy the clothes
You wear each day
To keep that image
In place.

You dress the part each day.
You play the part each day.
You wear the clothes.
Trim fingernails,
Cut hair,
To maintain that image
That everybody knows.

That’s not all there is to you
Is it?
That image?
That lie?

I remember the words
Of the Lenten Rose.
“It’s hard, sometimes.”
The rest was left unspoken.
But I knew,
Even then.
I knew.

It’s hard sometimes
To keep that lie
In place.
That image you believe
The world demands you be.

I remember the words
Of my one time boss.
When he said to me,
“You can’t be like that!”

I knew he was wrong.
I understood what he was saying.
That in the working world
There was only one way
I could be.
That I couldn’t have a heart.
I couldn’t have a soul.
In that world
I had to become
What that world expected of me.

I remember the words
Of the one that left.
Because she couldn’t understand
That I can’t lie.

“I have to manage everything
That happens.
I have to watch the things
I do.
The things my friends do
With me.
So that I control
What other people
Think of me.”

She flat-out said
She has to live a lie.

That’s such a sad thing
Isn’t it.

I know too
Why I’m not in that world
I once lived in.

I can’t live that lie.
Doing so
Damn near killed me.

So, these days,
I wink.
I smile.
I try hard
Not to laugh.
When I encounter you.
Because I know.

The person you show me
Isn’t really
Who you are.

And I wonder these days
If you even know.
Or have you forgotten
Who you are.

And all I really wonder
When I talk with you
Is

Who are you?

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