I tell people that I’m an open book. “Ask me anything you want to know and I’ll tell you the truth,” I say and I do mean that. But the trick is to think of the right question, to know what you want to ask. I won’t necessarily tell you if you haven’t asked.

I keep things from people on instinct, little parts of me tucked away that I share more selectively. No two people would remember me the same way, would know the same parts of me. I don’t mean to do this, and at times it’s hard to remember who knows what, but I can’t see myself changing the habit.

I categorize myself, seeming to pull out a unique being for each of my relationships with other people. I am divided. Maybe this protects me, keeps me in control. Maybe it’s an exercise in trust. Or maybe it’s a mental competition to see which version is most successful, most loved. I don’t know, it’s just something I’ve always done without even consciously thinking about it.

However I’ve been playing one particular part lately, one I consciously chose to play because not doing so would have hurt me more than helped me. I’ve been “faking it, till I’ve made it” day in and day out, and all the while feeling like I’m going bald from the stress of pulling my own hair out. The burden of it started to feel like a cartoon anvil hovering over my head and I wanted so badly to just get out from under it.

Well, I’m half out of it now. And in a way I feel like I can breathe a little easier. Of course it’s stressful to have the knowledge out there for everyone to know, and terrifying to feel like the consequences are out of my control, but it’s also freeing at the same time. I chose this part, but I never wanted it.

If I’ve learned anything from this secret it’s that who we chose to be has consequences. I don’t regret the choice that I made, I made it for a lot of logical and valid reasons, but I carried the burden of it with me. I’ve felt it every day for the last year.

Maybe one day my other omissions will catch up with me, too. Maybe the habit of hiding different facets of my personality, of scattering myself amongst my different relationships will turn out to be a bad thing. Maybe I’ll learn to stop doing it one day. I don’t know. I just know that those little subconscious categorizations have consequences; even if I haven’t felt them yet.


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