Very few people are themselves. Most people are a well balanced equilibrium of the people they care to impress that are currently present. Well behaved in your parents presence, discussing through an array of charming anecdotes that demonstrate what a moral and responsible member of society you’ve grown up to be -cut to- several shots past drunk, chain-smoking cigarettes in a basement that very well may harbor tortured girls just beyond the unfinished cinderblock walls, spouting stories of good fucks, bad fucks, and any drug story – any. Who exactly is yourself?
Yourself is always honest, it’s constantly perched back there in the shady crook of your brain, palms pleasantly intertwined over its large, you-shaped belly, dropping insensitive comments you were conditioned to produce at a young age, judging people the way your mother used to in pedagogic observations, grumbling cynically about the ill-truths of humanity your fellow humans display, checking people out, loudly reminding you of whatever you momentarily forgot to crave, bleeding a little bit when it loves, when it becomes attached to things. But going around and being yourself is considered bad manners and cockiness.
People whisper about individuals, half out of fear and half out of infatuation. The real you stretches into your entire body on psychedelic trips. The trip you is you. Insecure, suspicious of everything, unbreakably enraptured by the cheap plastic flower vase in the corner, and the way it pushes itself into that space underneath the naked light bulb, and when you aren’t tripping, all you can see are the scratches on it that reveal its inferior material, and the brusk edge where Joe knocked it off at least once a month, but tripping, it’s so complete and glowing and you want to be inside of it, in it, to be it, but you are it and it just keeps – “oh,” you take the bowl being passed around and hit it, immediately forgetting the overpowering love the real you just had for a parsimonious attempt at home decor, and just as your gaze settles again on the aforementioned Joe who has been staring at your nipples for the past hour, the little you at the back of your head stretches its helices and glares at his disgusting male face, jaw partly open because god knows what is seducing him into a hardon in his brain, his awkward autistic mind that just hates to ask if you have any weed to throw in with whatever niggardly stem he decides to drop on top of the nug I always offer up – out of courtesy and social responsibility – never kindness, that same blank expression that has been jaggedly picking up mannerisms and phrases from the overconfidently attractive asshole in the gang, the same classic Italian that you hate to sit next to when he’s drunk because he chews with his mouth open constantly belching and snorting and stinking in his beer breath, and as the effervescence of you touches fingertips and toenails inside your psyche, you begin to loathe him and allow yourself to think of him as an inferior homunculus while the latent part of your brain begins to piece together from its dusty eternal cabinet of filing folders each and every way which who you are actually resembles him, and how if anything, you’re worse because you hide all these characteristics away like a cowardly hypocrite and pretend to be pure and perfect to everyone else, but only the real you knows that you aren’t and you’re just as bad, so you take this half deflated balloon collection of uncomfortable thoughts outside with you to burn a camel and slowly suck the stagnant air from each day-after-a-child’s-birthday-party edifice, until you’re weak from asphyxiation, so you light another fag and it occurs to you this is actually your third fag, so you may as well stay outside on the damp bench with the curiously reddish clouds swirling on top of twinkling diamonds laid in zaffre, and you begin to get lost on hating yourself and fall into the complex dervishes above your head so that when Thomas comes out for a smoke, you realize that you are much more horizontal than he is, rising obliquely from your hip bones, because you’d unconsciously laid out on that green wet minefield of splinters, once again to fall in love with strange beauty. So you sit up and find the energy to be not yourself for a cigarette longer (the fourth in a night that has not yet reached its chain smoking threshold, you’ve already made your amends with throat cancer), so that he’ll leave without question and you can go back to relishing in the exhaustive self hatred and should-haves. That’s not to say the real you is simply a child with love and curiosity and confusing rushes of emotion in inappropriate circumstances, the real you wants you to be better, and the two of you get along when you clean your room and do the laundry and wake up on a schedule, so as to accomplish things throughout the day, because the morning wake-n-bake, coffee from the dingy diner you half waitress/half prostitute yourself at every weekend for rent money BELIEVE IT OR NOT is a self perpetuating routine because it makes you feel like shit, and shit is as shit does, and hell, I always get the sticky bun and two refills of coffee, so between the weed and the coffee and the fiber and the cigarettes you smoke to cover up the weed, the only guaranteed high point of your morning IS shitting. The real you knows this, and whispers lasciviously from inside your ear to use that tea the homeopathic doctor suggested, and to run for just ten more minutes even though the old fart on the treadmill infant of you keeps glancing back no doubt at the sound of your labored breath grunting through the stalactites that have built up in your nose from the dry greasy atmosphere you work in every day, and wouldn’t you be happier if you didn’t have to wake up and step buck ass naked sweaty dream feet onto the soil and stone granule from yesterday’s shoes that have embedded themselves in your carpet. Wouldn’t you like a clean room?
The real you knows exactly where it’s going and what it wants, but is consistently burdened with concerns of the flesh that heap up around it in cells and tissues and organs and cosmetic products that stay on the top of your skin, though the bottle said ultra-absorbing and the flickering glances that size you up and sexualize you under the hushed discussion that halts when you round the corner, that sink in though you tell them the bit about the duck’s oily back and its history with water. The ones that want you to be like them tell you that your identity is just pipe dreams and dormant failures so you believe them, because company is as addictive as the bowl ride on the way home from work. The real you is shouting inside to SHUT YOUR EARS TO THE ROARING OF THE VOICES, GEORGE WILLARD AND GET THE HELL OUT OF WINESBURG. Sidenote: Why is it Ohio has so many famous towns? Winesburg, Xenia, Defiance, etc. The fuck’s Ohio have that Delaware doesn’t?
The real me keeps seeing foxes when I drive home at night, or when I drive to the friends house after work, though I’d rather be at home studying, as long as it isn’t for a grade. They dash in front of my path and I never hit them, I have a jumper sticker that says “I Break for Bunnies” with a pink little Peter Cottontail thumbs up on the right. They walk towards me sometimes ,but mostly away from me, and I wonder if they don’t have my scent caught in their pointed snouts. A Native American adage claims the fox to be a wolf, bearing flowers, and you know they had that shit down, so who am I to disagree. The real me knows these foxes aren’t just foxes, because I’m the one who’s seeing them and it’s crazy and I’d never explain it to my friends, but it’s the only time the voice in the back of my head shuts up and listens, like she does when I become infatuated with dollar store vases and stormy April nightscapes. She’s listening, because she knows that she is in the presence of something sacred and couldn’t bear to gab over a cosmic gift, for fear she’d stop receiving it and still not know which direction to steer the wonky tires in.