Mistress of illusion

I know I put myself down a lot, but believe me, I know I’m pretty darned special. Magical, even. I’ve accomplished a lot (more than I will ever truly let on) and I’ve got a hell of a lot going for me. I imagine that there are people who think that I have the world by its ass.

This is the illusion I have painted for so many. This is what I want you to think about when you hear my name — I want you to see me having so much fun and being so successful that you simply wish you were me.

And lately, I don’t know if I’ve ingested some kind of truth serum or what, but I can’t do it anymore. Sure, I do have my happy moments and personal triumphs in general — don’t get me wrong. But I know that people are starting to see that the woman I sold them on was, quite possibly, a masquerade — the cloak of someone I used to be. Someone I hope to become once again.

Maybe I’m overly full of myself, but people used to be in awe of me. Afraid, even, of what I was going to say or do to interrupt their status quo. Because I abhor the status quo — you can always be/do better; so can I. Actually, I take that back — half the people in the room would dread what I was going to do to shine a spotlight on their inefficiencies, and the other half mentally licked their chops and waited to see whatever piece de resistance I was going to pull out of my sleeve. Yes, I know I added entertainment value (if nothing else) to everything I touched. I never doubted that my contributions were brilliant, even if they weren’t always wanted.

I was reading this amazing entry over at Helen’s, and it made me uncomfortable, it was so spot-on. You will see me throughout that entry. You may see yourself. The bottom line is that when you’ve fallen once, there is always that expectation that something will give at any time thereafter. You realized you aren’t, in fact, invincible. And you never were, nor will you ever be. I think Helen and I are both in peril of going into a paroxysm if someone simply says “Boo” to us — we’re that fragile now.

I try to remind myself what my A.P. English teacher said during my senior year of high school. She looked at this class full of too-smart-for-our-own-good kids and said, “You’re not special. None of you.” And we hated her for that — we walked on water, even if only in our own minds. But she was so very right — academic ability and maybe even some talent wasn’t going to keep us immune from the fate of mere mortals. We might have had more of a running head start in life, sure, but she was trying to tell us that we were too full of ourselves to think we were owed special consideration for anything in life.

And I don’t think I ever felt entitled to special privileges (I came from nothing — believe me when I say my feet are firmly planted in reality), but maybe I hoped that my aspirations, my dreams, my beliefs, my convictions would make a difference in this world. So I let everybody know what they were. I raged against perceived injustices. I called bullshit when I couldn’t stand the stench of it anymore. I am an expert problem-solver and believe that I am part of the problem if I’m not busting my ass to get others to pitch in on the solution. I am only one person — I can’t save the world. Not all by myself, anyway. 😉

But despite what the teacher said and what has happened to support her theory, I cling to the theory that I am special TO ME. I just need to parlay that to everyone else, even when I’m struggling internally to support that sentiment.

In sum, I think it is safe to say that I ran before I crawled. And circumstances have occurred to make me lie on the floor and want to die. And crawling was the best I could do for a long time. And, I think I’ve dusted myself up and am starting to walk. I’m wobbly — my muscles are still a bit weak, theoretically — but I am getting better at standing without crumbling.

You don’t see that. You see me dancing. Or, at least, you can envision it because that is what I’ve wanted you to see. And most people left it go unchallenged. Heh. I always said that the person who captures my heart will be the one who doesn’t take me at face value — so, for god’s sakes, ask me when you think I’m blowing smoke.

And I’ll flourish (again) someday and be everything I promised — AND MORE! Believe me, I want to see it more than anybody.

But I feel like I lost my place for awhile. And that my opinions are still valuable, but that my voice isn’t as loud as it used to be. Nor as steady, truth be told. I mean, I know I willingly dropped out of life for awhile, but I was STUNNED that it didn’t want to take me back as quickly as I expected it would. Stunned, I say. And it’s freaking hard to jump on the merry-go-round when the fucker won’t stop — or even slow down — to let you back on it. And sure, this is where I insert my fuzzy-wuzzy “it had to happen when it was right, and it did” crap. Which isn’t crap, of course, but my confidence suffered in the process.

I was thinking about how we spend our whole lives reminding ourselves that we’re fabulous — after someone or something has stripped it away. For those of us who were bullied/tormented as kids, we know what it’s like to smile through the pain — to pretend we didn’t hear those comments or feel those icy giggles incurred at our expenses chilling our hearts. We watched the boys we “loved” take other girls to dances (or other boys. Whichever. LOL) while we sat home and pined. We got up every day and put on pretty outfits and painted on smiles to match — we weren’t going to let the world see what it was doing to us.

Then we found ourselves in other situations where we had to acquiesce — our turns were yet to come, we knew it, right? And if you were me, fucking up wasn’t an option. It’s a combination of internal pressure for perfection and the complete lack of a safety net if I fell on my ass. Those who see me as a perfectionist need to know that I used to be anything but — it’s a wonder I never became bulimic or anorexic or started cutting myself, because those are based on one thing: the need to control something, anything in one’s life. For me, that control freak thrives on work. And if that isn’t going swimmingly, then I get nuts. And during the five months that I “freelanced” (read: sat on my ass and got to know myself way too well), I self-destructed. My identity evaporated nearly as quickly as my money. I realized that I had the capacity to make the WRONG decisions in life. Who knew? Moi, not perfect? Puh-leeze!

But to do my sing-song “everything happens for a reason” hoopla, I am going to cling to it for dear life even though it makes me want to hold back my hair and hurl. What I’ve found is that, in self-destruction, you have an opportunity to lose the bad shit and cultivate the good that you just never had time to nurture. Of course, sometimes the sad stuff follows you around like a lost puppy dog, and you keep it to remind yourself of what you used to be and never want to experience again.

For me, it’s time to get that lost puppy neutered. I know it’s possible to become who you’re supposed to be without the constant reminder of who you were and the pressure of who you’ll never be. In my case, the illusion? A precursor to reality. A combination of what I loved about myself and what I hope to become — an extra couple of layers to what already exists.

I will be OK, no matter what. I know this. I just don’t believe it yet. But I will. But I am not just special — I am magical. The powers I have just need to be used for good, and the best I can do is empower myself to bring my arsenal of fairy dust to the world and prevent others like me from ever doubting themselves. Imagine what this world would be like if only we were brave enough to not only dream, but also to bring those visions into fruition, whatever they may be.

On iTunes: Jonny Van Zant, “Love is Not Enough”

One Lonely Response to Mistress of illusion

  1. Anonymous :

    They wouldn’t even have to say boo to me-more like just look at me funny and I’ll collapse.

    When you figure out how to believe in yourself, can you tell me, too?

    Everyday Stranger