I cannot sneak my way back into being the person I once was. My choices have been too vocal; people know too well who I have become. My identity precedes me before I walk into a room and I am announced with trumpets and horns. People see the person I have become before they see the person I still am. Nobody looks at me anymore and sees me for the person I am -- even I have become a stranger to myself trying to become the person I wanted to be.
I put on so many layers of faces that if you would (if one could) take them off, what you would find is the faceless me that is the void behind the masks. My first mask was inspired by a cool kid in high school named Craig Whitney. I saw how people reacted to him and I thought that if I acted like him and combed my hair like him and put my right hand into my jeans pocket like he did then people would like me the way they liked him. I would be cool. Then I added more people to my repertoire, adding more personalities and more mannerisms. I built myself as a person would form a clay man. I collected my personalities as a demon would collect souls.
Who would have known that years later, the giant mask that I molded over the years would crack and I would accidentally get a glimpse of the person behind the mask? Nothing could have prepared me for the crisis that has ensued, as I have recently heard the echoes of emptiness belch a scent from the nothingness that still hides behind my cracked mask. The smell that I face is one of dust and of cobwebs from a hidden self who is trapped within the goal-setting machine I built long ago. Peering into the depths of my self, I don't have a face to look back at me and this lack of a reflection scares me. Now I do, but am, I am not, scratch the walls trying to see the shape of my fingernails by analyzing the imprints I leave. Yet there is no time to do this because my past decisions blow me forward into the uncertain future. I fear I will live someone else’s life with someone else’s dreams and someone else’s values. The crack in my mask is not getting smaller. In fact, it might not be able to be repaired. This means that whatever is underneath must come out.
[By the way, I haven't thought of Craig's name in over ten years. After writing this entry, I looked up his name in Google wondering what he ended up doing or becoming, and I was floored to find this web site on him. Craig Whitney -- Cornell University, BS (Business Management and Marketing) Harvard Law School, JD Candidate (Class of 2001). Research fellow for the IP in Cyberspace Online Series (Spring 1999) 1999 Harvard Journal of Law and Technology Symposium -- Assistant Coordinator Investigator for the Georgetown University Law Center Criminal Justice Clinic... Would you believe me if I told you that I am also finishing law school, just five years after him -- I am becoming a patent attorney dealing specifically with IP in China, but unlike Harvard, I go to a low-ranked law school. Good for him. I am not sad for being where I am, because I worked very very hard to get here. Where I stand today comes from the best of what I can do. While it gives me a slight nudge in my chest when I see others who sat next to me in high school do so much better that I am and be so much smarter than me, I know that there are no regrets. Life was a massive struggle. But I never gave up.]