I'm a fake, a fraud, a complete phony. It's like I'm going through life, pretending to be someone else and just terrified that everyone will find out who I really am inside. Sure, I do well at work and put on a good show at parties, but it's like I'm just pulling the levers and pushing the buttons. It's like the smile's not real and the stories are just anecdotes I read in a book. They're not me. None of it is.
When you go through life with this shell over yourself, you can feel like you're lost inside your own skin. It's like you're one man trapped in another man's life, living his day-to-day routine, driving his car, going to his job, kissing his wife goodnight.
Finally, you snap. I did. I snapped. It was a complete break with reality, but I think it was more like I was finally becoming “me” and not “that other guy”. I wanted people to know me for who I really am and not who I pretended to be. I wanted them to know who I am inside. More than anyone, I wanted my wife to know.
I mean, how can you go through life not even being yourself in front of the person who's supposed to know you best? The person who's going to accept you for yourself no matter what? Isn't that what love is? Isn't that what a marriage is?
With my hands shaking and my voice trembling, I told her I wanted to know me and I pushed the button. My fake self fell away, the machine dropping off like old clothes and there I was, all of me, without the levers and the buttons and switches. Just me. All three feet, six inches of me. All five legs and three arms of me. Looking up at the love of my life with pleading in all my eyes.
“This is who I really am,” I told her and reached out for her embrace. I just wanted to hold her in my webbings and be together for the first time.