PLEASE HEAR WHAT I'M NOT SAYING
Don't be fooled by me,
Don't be fooled by the face I wear
For I wear a mask. I wear a thousand masks,
masks that I'm afraid to take off and none of them are me.
Pretending is an art that's second nature with me
But don't be fooled, for God's sake don't be fooled.
I give you the impression that I'm secure
That all is sunny and unruffled with me
Within as well as without, that confidence is my name
and coolness my game, that the water's calm and I'm in command,
and that I need no one.
But don't believe me. Please!
My surface may be smooth but my surface is a mask,
My ever-varying and ever-concealing mask.
Beneath lies no smugness, no complaisance.
Beneath dwells the real me in confusion, in fear, in aloneness.
But I hide this.
I don't want anybody to know it. I panic at the thought of my
weaknesses and fear exposing them.
That's why I frantically create my masks to hide behind.
They're nonchalant, sophisticated facades to help me pretend.
To shield me from the glance that knows.
But such a glance is precisely my salvation, my only salvation,
and I know it.
That is, if it's followed by acceptance, if it's followed by love.
It's the only thing that can liberate me from myself, from my own
self-built prison walls, from the barriers that I so painstakingly erect.
That glance is the only thing that assures me that I'm really worth something.
But I don't tell you this. I don't dare. I'm afraid to.
I'm afraid you'll think less of me, that you'll laugh and your laugh would kill me.
I'm afraid that deep-down I'm nothing, that I'm just no good and you'll see this
and reject me. So I play my game, my desperate, pretending game.
With a facade of assurance without
And a trembling child within,
So begins the parade of masks, the glittering but empty parade of masks,
And my life becomes a front. I idly chatter to you in suave tones of surface talk.
I tell you everything that's nothing,
And nothing of what's everything, of what's crying within me.
So when I'm going through my routine do not be fooled by what I'm saying.
Please listen carefully and try to hear what I'm not saying.
Hear what I'd like to say.
I dislike hiding. Honestly. I dislike the superficial game I'm playing, the
superficial phony game. I'd really like to be genuine and spontaneous and me.
But I need your help, your hand to hold
Even though my masks would tell you otherwise. It will not be easy for you.
Long felt inadequacies make my defenses strong, the nearer you approach me
The blinder I m ay strike back. Despite what books say of men, I am irrational;
I fight against the very thing that I cry out for.
You wonder who I am?
You shouldn't. For I am every man and every woman who wears a mask.
Don't be fooled by me. At least not by the face I wear.