Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote, “No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”
I mentioned in the sort of foreword about LTDC that from the first version to this last one, masks have been one of the main theme. People trying to be something they’re not, pretending that they don’t care about the things that they do, and all that stuff.
We all act differently around certain people, because we want to impress them, or maybe because we simply don’t want to dissapoint them. And sometimes, indeed, we can’t figure out who we really are.
I once wrote that our freedom is limited only by what we believe to be the perception others have about us. If we’re afraid the world won’t like us for who we really are, then we try our best to “behave.”
It’s incredibly difficult to do this, day in and day out. In the end, you won’t have a moment of peace, as long as you’re afraid the mask will fall off and people we’ll see you for who you really are.
I frankly don’t know why people do this, I just know why I did it. Because I wanted to belong, to find my place. I wanted to be accepted by the vast majority of people I met, so I did my best to act as shallow as possible. I’m somewhat funny, possibly even charismatic, so it wasn’t that difficult for me to act as if I didn’t care.
But you know what they say about funny people actually being the saddest of all creatures, right? But that doesn’t matter, as long as on the outside everything seems to be all right.
Back in highschool, few people knew I wrote. Now, that’s what really defines me, it’s the most important thing about me. Maybe it’s the only thing that really defines who I am.
Andre Gide once wrote, “It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not.”
I keep reminding me that. In life, in writing, in basically everything I do. And this simple statement is probably the most accurate definition of Chris Packlem’s struggle. Or maybe any man’s, for that matter.
Isn’t it true that we spend a hell lot of time trying to figure out what’s our purpose on this planet? What is it that we love doing? What is it that we want most? What is it that we’re truly great at? And what do we want after that? I’d say we spend the rest of our time on this Earth trying to find someone willing (or is it capable?) of loving us for who we really are.
That’s what my novel is really about. Chris Packlem pretends to be rich and careless. He collects stuff, he gets drunk as often as he can. But every handshake, every person he meets, does nothing to make him feel less lonely. Every time he stares at the New York skyline from “the top of the world” he thinks that the world just has to be big enough for him to find the love he thinks he deserves.
He hopes there’s one person, just one of out 7 or so billion, who’s capable of seeing through his mask, of seeing through his chest.
Will Bower does the same thing. He’s like the Dennis Rodman of the art world. Maybe that’s true for all those who behave outrageously. At heart, they’re just shy and introverted, and they’re so afraid the world is never going to accept them that they change into something entirely different.
Sometimes it feels as if we’re never who we think we are. That, somehow, something always gets lost in the “translation.”
I’d like to thank Aline Lotter, Aleksandar Perisic, carrieinholland, Sachintha Peiris, Ally, and all the other folks who contributed in the past 24 hours.
With just 4 days to go, we’re only $332 from reaching our goal. Still plenty of cool perks left. You can contribute here.