The lovey-dovey couple, holding hands while walking down the street, or in snapshots of their vacations, may as well be living a loveless life, their marriage on the verge of a breakdown. The display of affection may be just that – a display, a show put up for the world to notice them and nod its head in approval and amazement at a life filled with joy. We see the smiles on their faces and feel the pinch, when we find our own lives bereft of that love, that companionship. But, do we look closer, to see if their smiles reach their eyes?
The sunshine girl at your office, perpetually cheerful and full of energy, may be fighting demons of loneliness and despair, Your most chattery friend, who enlivens the atmosphere at your friendly meets, may be battling frustration due to an unsuccessful career. The neighbour, who overwhelms you with her love and attention, may have a terrible life behind those closed doors. You never know!
We, the social beings, rarely if ever, exhibit our true selves to the world with whom we socialise. And not just the world outdoors, but also the world we live in close proximity with – our family, our close friends. Our parents know us, but to a certain extent, and so do our siblings, with whom we grew up. Our partners often claim to know us, but, really, do they? Our closest friends, with whom we share our innermost feelings think that they know us well, know our secrets well, but do we really share every story of ours, every scar, every tear with them, either?
Impressions can be deceiving, is a line that often comes to my mind, especially when I look at photographs shared on the social media. True. All that glitters is not gold. Every smile may not bloom from the bottom of the heart. It may just be pasted up there, on the face, for effect.
So, why is it that we hide our true selves from our people? Why do we forget that we are all humans, with our own set of weaknesses, our idiosyncrasies, our handicaps? We all have a different life, a different story, which is not perfect in any way. Then, why the constant effort at putting up a facade of a perfect life? What is it that we would gain from this falsity? I think, it is the fear of losing out on affection from our loved ones were they to see our true sides, that keeps us from sharing ourselves wholly with them. We believe in the maxim, laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone so much, that we fear being alienated lest we reveal our true selves.
I wish we could open ourselves up, to the people who care about us, who share their world with us. Hiding behind a mask can be taxing. Living our entire lives wrapped up in a garb of pretence can leave us fatigued. Not only that, after a period of time, the line between reality and make-believe blurs, leaving us confused, muddled up. Why can’t we accept our life as it is, and be proud of it? Why don’t we stop pining for a perfect world? Attain a perfect us? Life would be a lot easier, a lot clutter-free and a lot more genuine. But, the question is, do we have it in us to ‘come out of our closet’ ?