Outwardly we are all facades, playing the character we want others to see us as. Yet like the mask the actor wears onstage, the character we play for others hides our true self. We are constantly being dishonest with each other, deceiving one another in order to conform to the (arbitrary) rules and standards of conduct society expects of us. Everyone has an honest self, a character that only they know, a character with deep flaws, anxieties, and desires. Those emotions and qualities, the ones we tuck away deep inside and keep secret from everyone but our closest intimates, are what truly make us human. They transcend the human experience, affecting every individual who’s ever walked this Earth. Yet, if placed into the social environment, someone ignorant of this reality would never come to discover it… for so well hidden we have managed to make our honest selves available for others to see.
I am no different. In fact, I am probably one who hides his true character nearly the most among the people I know. Cody Knipfer has two faces, one familiar to everyone I interact with, and one familiar only to me. Surely this is no doubt different for anyone else, but I have come to recognize and become disgusted with the dishonesty of that reality. How different my life would be, and how differently others may see or feel about me, if they knew my true perceptions, my real desires, my honest anxieties. How different the world would be if I wore my true colors on my chest rather than tucking them to the far back of my wardrobe. Why have I, for my entire life, allowed myself to do so? Is it because I am a product of a society where the uglier, realer side of my being is a taboo? Is it because I am too paralyzed by my fear of how others think or feel about me to become so vulnerable? Is it because I worry that, despite the troubles that plague all of us, I am more troubled than others? It is all three of these factors, plus many others, which have kept me from bringing honesty to my outward character.
But no longer. I am now in a point of transition in my life, my senior year of college. After this, I will leave behind all of the friendships I’ve developed and all the people I’ve come to know in order to enter the real world. The next few years of my life will be a fresh start, a blossoming of sorts. I figure that, if I hope to enter the adult world an honest individual, a person unfettered by social expectations or by social anxieties, then I must begin to bring that person into being. What better time or place to do that is there than now? Except for my closest intimates, I do not expect to see or talk to any of these people ever again. Who cares if the mask I wear is more appealing than the reality underneath? Who cares if I embarrass or humiliate myself by opening up. Who cares how others will feel if my desires, my worries, or my anxieties were revealed to them? One year from now, I will be forever be history to them, and they to me. A few faux pas and stumbles is, in the grand scheme of things, the least of my worries.
How do I set about accomplishing this, though? How do I become my “honest self?” Having lived 21 years hiding the reality of my being away from others, how can I bring it to light? Part of the journey will be through a journal, this journal – a diary of sorts. I have been meaning to write my personal thoughts down for a long time now… like I do with my intellectual pursuits. I *want my personal reality to come through in my writing, so that I may look upon it years from now and see from where I’ve come and how I’ve grown. But I will be making this journal publically available, visitable on my blog. It is out there for the world to see. In a way, I will be wearing my true colors on my chest. It is a first step of many on the road to me becoming, in the eyes of others but most importantly in the eyes of myself, a genuine human being.
Could the things I say in this hurt me or others? Yes. Could they be a cause for humiliation or anxiety? Yes. Yet the things I say which would do that are genuine and real, and come from my true being. Not revealing them, not bringing them to the surface, not coming to acknowledge and accept them, would keep me from accomplishing my goal. I doubt that anyone will ever read this blog, or that those who do will have any relation to the things or people about whom I talk. Nonetheless, those who do read my reality and see themselves as a part of it will at least know that these words are coming from a position of true honesty. I hope that starting from such a place will be more constructive than coming from our default position of dishonesty and masks.
Without further ado, then – my journal.
August 17th, 2014.