The Great Pretender

Posting my old Xanga account the other day got me started with thinking about my past. I’ve only been alive for as long as the Soviet Union has been dissolved but in those few years I’ve learned a bit about people and myself. I’ve especially been able to reflect on the type of person I was in middle school and high school.

In high school, no one except the teachers knows what they’re doing. You’ll realize that the moment you step into any high school hallway. Unfortunately, like many students my age, I was not privy to that information. Instead, I had to do high school the way most kids do high school and pretend. Pretending wasn’t that difficult though; all I needed to do was pick someone cool and emulate them. Finding someone wasn’t too difficult either. Before I entered high school, I was introduced to a few new things in the world of characters. First, I began reading Stephen King novels and Sherlock Holmes novels. Then I started watching the TV show House. All 3 of these things were fairly influential for me (I ended up writing a college essay on Holmes/House) so I weighed my options with the three. It would be hard to emulate Stephen King, since he was an author and I only knew his characters. Instead I decided to be like House, who in turn was modeled off Holmes so it all worked out in the end (there should really be a sarcasm emoticon :)).  

Once I had decided to be like House/Holmes, the rest was history. Sort of. Sometimes it was harder to pretend, like when you have an Inception-esque situation. Sometimes, I’d have to honestly pretend to care while I was still trying to pretend to be House/Holmes. That was a bit difficult. Just to clarify, when I talk about pretending to be this television character I don’t exactly mean that. I mean taking bits of the character’s personality – the parts you think are coolest – and trying to fit them into your personality, like puzzle pieces. Sometimes you come out with a wonky picture but hopefully it’ll look cool (that’s the high school philosophy of course). 

After I was finished pretending, I went to college. But I guess the pretending that I did in high school is less of an outfit and more of a tattoo because it certainly becomes a part of who you are. My attitude heading into college was the opposite of the one I had about high school. This time I wanted to be completely original. *For the purposes of the following metaphor we’ll pretend that tattoo removal doesn’t exist.* So, in college, I still had this tattoo – it was a part of me – but I didn’t want it to be the only part of me. And so it’s not.

That’s what I told my sister when she went off to school but in way fewer words. “Be yourself because you don’t want to spend the next four years being someone else.” That may be a movie quote. Or maybe my mom said it to me when I went to school. If she did, I’m really glad I listened.






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