#VisDare 46 : Silhouette

“Taran. I’m afraid of love.” I felt her hand tremble in mine. “I’m afraid of you.”

We walked to the lake. “There’s a statue in the cave. Of the monsters on the surface. Of a little girl controlling them.”

Alice nodded. “Jessica.”

“So they teach.”

“What do you mean?”

I looked across the lake. “I’m no longer in the caves. I’m on the surface.”

She leaned into me, drew my arm around her waist. “Taran. What are you afraid of?”

What was I afraid of? I didn’t know. I’d never thought about it. I’d never asked myself. I’d always tried to follow what I thought were the rules of life. The way I thought was right.

“Everything’s a lie.”

“No. It’s not.” Her fingers brushed my cheek. “It’s just bigger than you knew.”

“I’m afraid of me. Alice.” I closed my eyes. “I don’t know who I am.”

147 Words

This is part 29 in the continuing story I’m working on for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.(And yes. I know I’m days late getting this one written and posted.)

The entire story, from part 29 to part 1, is located here.

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.
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

Who are you?

Am I Lying To Myself?

Today, I stopped.
For a while.
And I looked in the mirror.
As I looked,
I thought.
And I remembered.

I noted the progress
That I’ve made
In the past few days.
The things I’ve gotten done.
The things I’ve started on.
That I’ve left sitting
For months,
And months,
And months.

Then I asked myself a question.
Several questions

Am I doing all these things
Because I’m ready to?
Because I want to?

Or am I doing
All these things
It’s what I’m supposed to do?

And the answer to that question
Says for very much.

Am I getting laundry done.
And the dishes too.
For the right reasons?
Or not?
Do I wash the dishes
Because I want to get them clean?
So we can use them
Once again.
And they don’t take up space
On the sink.
And on the counter.
Or am I doing this
Because I’m supposed to?
Because I have to?
Because I’m expected to?

It’s such a simple thing.
Trivial, honestly.
Washing the dishes.
Running the dishwasher.
It only takes a little slice
Of time from my day.

But I find
I’ve never asked myself
If I wash the dishes
Because it’s what I ought to do.
Or because I like
The way I feel
When I’m done?.

And the answer to that question
Says so very much.

Then there is the laundry.
I’m doing more of that these days.
Than I’ve done in months.
And as I was loading up
The washing machine today,
I found myself asking me,
Am I doing this because
It’s what I’m supposed to do?
It’s expected of me?

Am I doing this
To make my lady
And my son both

Am I doing this
To convince my doctors
That I’m getting well?
That I’m on my way
To being OK once again?

Am I doing this
To show everyone
That they shouldn’t worry
About me any more?

Why am I starting to
Do all the things
I’m starting to do?

Is it for me
Or is it
For someone else?

There’s a dangerous line there.
One I’ve never seen before
In my entire life.

One I’m not sure at this point
That I really understand.

Because I’ve come to realize
That the answer to these questions
That I’m dealing with
Makes all the difference
In the world
To me.

For if I’m doing
What I’m doing
Because I want to.
Because it makes me
Because it makes me
Then I’m doing
All these things
For reasons that I should.
And I know
That I’ll be better
Over time.

But if I’m doing
What I’m doing
To convince the people
In my life
That I’m OK now.
And they don’t have to worry
About me any more.

Then I’m not OK.
For if I’ve learned anything
As I’ve walked the path
I’ve walked
In the past 18 months.

It’s that doing anything I do
Just to make someone else happy.
Is a huge part of what wounded me
So very badly
In the first place.

And left me
And alone.

And that leads me to
One last question
On this Tuesday morning.

Am I doing all the things I am
Because I want to do them?
Because I like the way I feel
When I get them done?
Does doing all these things
Make me happy?

Or am I once more
Lying to myself?