I saw a quote that said something like life is theater, why focus on being who you really are when you could be whoever you want? And it probably had a picture of a drag queen on it.
Upon a google search, I might have dreamed this.
Anyway it got me thinking. I’ve aspired consciously for the last several years and unconsciously my whole life to be as authentic as possible. To be who I am no matter who I’m with, even if I’m alone.
The earliest inspiration I can think of is Marilyn Manson. When Ozzy, Alice Cooper, and even Manson’s contemporary Rob Zombie were saying this is all theater Manson said proudly this is what I’m really like, this is who I am, this is a realer version of me than if I were to take the persona off and be Brian Warner ever again.
We all try on persona’s throughout our lives and sometimes they click and show us something of our deeper selves. Rather than being a mask they’re a mirror, showing us the things we didn’t know were underneath.
This is why I think a lot of people have fantasies of things they think they’d like if they tried but are scared to try. They have a persona in mind they think is their better self but are scared to take off the persona they have because other people are watching.
And for some reason we think if people see us change the change isn’t real. Their doubt becomes our doubt.
I’m an essentialist, I’m always trying to get to the core of what’s useful and strip away everything else, so I’ve tried on a lot of persona’s and kept the bits and bobs that reflected something deeper and discarded everything that didn’t feel real, everything that didn’t feel realer than before.
I even wrote a song about it.
The thing is there’s very little in life if you strip away all that is theater. Keeping books you’ve read is theater, trying to get better at your job takes a little bit of theater (especially if you’re depressive and think you’re always fucking up).
I think you don’t have to settle for being yourself but you don’t have to settle for being a phoney either.
Sam Harris uses an example when explaining that the self is an illusion of walking on stage, seeing a glass of water, and thinking oh good there’s a glass of water. Who is he telling when he thinks that?
I think it’s similar when we decorate our homes, or our bodies, or our language. We’re crafting a persona for an audience but that audience is us, we are the crafter and the crafted. If you have a persona for others that isn’t your persona for yourself then you haven’t crafted it, they have. They have worn you down like water passing over a stone.
And you’re telling yourself when you’re alone that no, no, you’re still a mountain. Well if you want to be a mountain you gotta do mountain shit.
So if there’s a persona that you want but are scared to adopt because it won’t be real then you’re not being real. You’re pretending to be you out of familiarity. And familiarity breeds contempt. I didn’t dream that, that’s a real quote.
Upon a google search that’s not a quote it’s a proverb.
So who do you want to see when you look in the mirror? When Batman looks in the mirror he doesn’t see a guy dressed up as a bat, he sees the goddamn Batman. And when he takes the suit off and looks in the mirror? He just sees Batman dressed up as Bruce Wayne.