i became an actor of some sort; a great one. as i played the main role, i became the leader material, the straight-a student, the artist. it felt great at first. i was stereotyped and the prejudice was very hard to break. people were looking up to me like a person who can do virtually anything; as if i was invincible, conveniently ignoring the fact that i was supposed to bleed somewhere. i am no superman and yet the red-caped hero has kryptonite as his weakness.
i continued my act on the stage and realized that the disguise was somehow liberating. there was a kind of freedom where i could do anything with the character i chose to play. i was able to make an image of myself i thought was better than the real me. i had no idea that i was doing the same for others. It turned out i was not able to see people for who they really are but for what i wanted them to be instead. i was being corrupted. i tried to humble myself by appearing humble, but deep inside i knew that my head was floating up in space.
but like all plays and tragedies, the show was bound to end. the transition was not easy. the mask weighed on me, eager to pull my face to the ground. suddenly, i wanted people to know me for who i really was and not as the image seared in their heads. as the feeling of greatness left me, i became very vulnerable. i was weak and scared. i didn’t know what’s scarier: the ugly person i was becoming or the face behind the mask. the confusion spiraled to mediocrity till i completely lost control, and yet the label across my chest still burned. i was pressured. i suddenly found my self living up to what people expects of me. but when i did, the promise of happiness was nowhere to be found. i had learned that fake people are sad people.
i love to travel and still try not to get lost. whenever i ride a bus, i would look out and watch as places and people pass by. it was like watching a series of images; a blur of colors and lights. whenever the bus halts, i tend to closely observe people outside. in someway it felt like watching a series of frames from a movie happening in real life and in real time, from a front-row seat. as alternative music played on my ears, i am curious to find that most people look weary. i could tell through their eyes. they are like walking zombies, but more importantly, they look lost. empty. i always wonder if their faces mirror mine and if someone out there wears the mask i once wore. but one thing’s for sure: there are a lot of impostors out there and i was one of them. maybe i still am… riding on this bus towards an unknown destination, uncertain if i’d ride it to the end.