I am not a singer or a dancer or an actor by any means, but sometimes I think that I’m a performer. And when I say that, I actually just mean that I am a really passionate pretender, but I think that performer sounds better, so let’s go with that.
I kind of hate that the word “pretend” has a bad connotation. Pretending is not the same as lying, but it’s treated as such. Pretending is not the opposite of being yourself. Everyone likes say to “be yourself,” and okay, maybe I hear that a disproportionate amount of times because of where we live, and I love that idea but it is also kind of sucky advice for people who have no idea who “yourself” is. And by people, I mean everybody.
In the sense that it’s good to avoid peer pressure, “be yourself,” albeit difficult to follow, is good advice. Obviously. But in the greater scheme of life, I’m pretty sure that in order to be yourself, you first have to make up a person named Yourself and then you can pretend to be them. So maybe pretending and being yourself are the same thing.
Being yourself, in theory, is supposed to be about not letting other things influence you, and just being an unadulterated version of yourself. I think that is stupid because we live in the world and things are going to influence you and shape Yourself to the point where you really don’t know which parts of Yourself are natural and which parts of Yourself are influenced by other things. If I really like a person and want to be just like them, I guess you could accuse me of not being myself, but then the only way that I could really find out who I am would be to live under a rock for my whole life and even then I probably wouldn’t know because dude, I would live under a rock. I guess this is kind of ironic, but you need other people to know who you are.
It’s one thing to pretend to be happy, but it’s another thing when the act of pretending makes you happy. You already know I am a huge romanticist. I like to pretend I am really good at things. I like to pretend I know what’s going on. I like to pretend that I’m an adult by drinking coffee. I don’t think that pretending stops me from being myself; I think that the fact that I pretend is one of the things that makes me myself, or at least helps me to pretend that I am Yourself. I don’t even know if that made any sense.
Once upon a time like a year ago, I wrote a blog about how I used to rip pages out of my notebook because it helped me to edit who I was into who I wanted to be. Back then, that was my way of pretending. Maybe it was bad. Then, when I wrote that blog, I was like, I don’t rip pages out anymore because I don’t have to pretend anymore. But then again, maybe I was just pretending to be the girl who didn’t have to pretend because that was who I wanted Yourself to be.
I don’t know if any of this makes sense, because to be honest, my head is kind of hurting from being confused about what I’m even writing right now. I think what I’m trying to say is that I’m constantly pretending, even if I’m pretending that I’m not pretending. Even when I was still ripping pages out of my notebook, I wasn’t necessarily not-myself because the fact that I was pretending makes me even more myself. Perhaps the one thing that I know truly about myself (not about Yourself) is that I like to pretend. And that’s the one thing that doesn’t change. I will always like to pretend. The only thing that changes is the Yourself I am pretending to be.
In 7th grade I wanted to be a Science Bowl kid, so I studied science textbooks. In 8th grade I wanted to be a runner, so I joined cross country. In 4th grade I wanted to be an honorary member of Green Day, so I dressed in black and let my hair fall over my eyes. I have no way of knowing for sure, but I’m pretty sure at each of those times, that was exactly who I wanted to be. Maybe all I have to do in order to be myself is to just pretend.