I have never fully allowed anybody to know me; I always hold part of myself back. No matter my relationship with somebody, wife, lover, friend, mother, daughter, co-worker, or patient, there is a piece of me that they will never know. It is never the same piece, though.
I pick who is permitted to know what about me; maybe if they all got together one day, they would have a complete picture of who I am. Most likely, though; if people started to compare notes, they would think they were talking about different people.
Even when I have been a psychiatric patient, at times seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist; I would tell one certain elements about my life and the other different things. Never lies, I always told the truth, but there were always omissions. Sometimes, in therapy, I was afraid if I told them absolutely everything, I might be locked up because I would be found “crazy”.
However, in my personal relationships, especially in my marriages, I held back not wanting to give too much of myself. I would be one way at home in my relationship, then I would go to work and have a friend and a different personality. It was exhausting.
There was a terrible movie in the 80’s called Stepfather I believe; it was about a man who had a family that he was disappointed with. He secretly quit his job and took one about an hour or so away; he married another woman with children. Then, I believe he killed his first family and simply picked up his life with the second family.
One day, he started to tire of them as well, as they were not perfect; which is what he was looking for, perfection. He was on the phone planning his escape to yet another life when one of the stepchildren overheard him on the phone talking; he used a name that was not his at the time, he had slipped up. The teenager overheard him; striking the kid across the head, bloodying him, he says, “Oh, wait, who am I today?”
I never screw up, though; I juggle my personalities like balls in the air. They stay up as long as I need them to, and if one starts to descend, I catch it, and throw it right back up again. I hold my secrets locked tightly away, never sharing them with anybody; the loneliness of my reality suffocating me at times.
There are days I want to open my heart and say, “Look at me, don’t turn away. Here I am, these are all of my secrets… if I share them, would you still know me?” However, the thought of even saying it, after all of these years makes me tremble.
Each day, a new personality… or a recycled old one, often, the flat one.