“We are not what we think we are, we are what we hide.” – Andre Malraux
~Beneath his grey, sharkskin Ralph Lauren suit, I hear from a dependable source, perhaps somebody who knew him in a past life, an uninhibited life, that his arms are rich and fiery and rebelliously covered with tattoos: sleeves of black, blue, red, skin of verse, inky maps of who he truly is, or was, or wants to become. Again.
Coiled up cobras. A Jack Kerouac quote: “the road is life.” A swirling ball of fire on his right shoulder blade. A Japanese symbol for love on his left humerus.
I’ve seen him in the daytime hours, but I don’t talk to him directly, so I watch from a distance how he interacts with other people, how they interact with him. Would they be surprised or judgmental if they knew about the tattoos, the swirling snakes slithering up his triceps? Would they consider him, irresponsible, reckless, unprofessional?
I’m fascinated by this other side we hold within: this Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this good girl/bad girl side, this light/dark side, this side we hide, the secrets we can’t even confess to ourselves. I mean, don’t we spend our entire lives trying to fuse and interweave these two sides together?
Do we actually know anybody fully, completely; the true, profound, philosophical core of them, the essence of what makes them whole?
Sigmund Freud said, “The more perfect a person is on the outside, the more demons they have on the inside.” And in Nabokov’s classic book, Lolita, he gives his protagonist the name, Humbert Humbert, which suggests two persons’: Monster & Human.
And I ponder, aren’t we all little monsters in one way or another?
I’ll be the first to admit, I only reveal half of myself to the world. I used to tell my sister that if we were merged together, we could be the perfect woman; she was the Marie Osmond and I was the Joan Jett.
Anyway, one side of me is rather typical, smiling, confident, overpowering, and doesn’t give a damn what others think. I apply scarlet lipstick to my face in the morning as if everything is all right, as if I’m carefree, as I’m normal…
…but I’m just as crazy as the rest.
Searching. Evolving. Opening. Closing.
My other side mourns the loss of my murdered sister, the loss of myself. I’ve cried over that loss for seven long, lonely years. My other side writes words and words and words to breathe, to live, to find God. My other side has misgivings about my abilities, dislikes my job, drinks too much wine from time to time, and cares deeply, obsessively how others perceive me.
Okay, I got lost for a moment… let me start from the beginning.
About the man in grey, sharkskin Ralph Lauren suit,
I find him much more interesting since I heard about the tattoos: more approachable, human, authentic, more like a Kerouac poem I can identify with.
Next time I see him wrapped inside his beautiful costume, perhaps I shall tell him.
—-Darlings, do you show your entire self to the world