Inland Empire: The Great Pretender


I remember dressing up like batman; the little K-Mart suit with the plastic mask. I remember watching SWAT and grabbing a stick like it was my machine gun. I remember trying to lift the car because I wanted to be Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man.

You’d think it was healthy to give your imagination a chance to flourish, to enhance your creativity. But without proper guidance, explanation, and influence, it’s hard to differentiate between reality and fantasy. Without explanation, the lines of reality are blurred, so you embed in your mind that when life seems difficult you can mask your pain, like you did when you were a child, and become someone you’re not.

I remember being stressed to a point that I felt I could no longer take it. So I went out, drank, and became someone I wasn’t. I pretended to be someone who didn’t exist, someone I never was and never could be. I reverted to my child-like instincts and put on that K-Mart batman mask and picked up that SWAT stick while trying to lift that car. I became the Great Pretender.

While acting like I was a college scholar, a big shot at my company, or a racing car driver, I really felt alive. I felt like a complete human being because my mind was hungry to be complete, like a child who wants to become a super hero. My lies were my super power and my reality was my kryptonite.

I liked the escape of not being who I was.  Abused and neglected. Deceived and tormented. Tortured and ridiculed. Worst of all, I was verbally accosted and left to play violent and damaging tapes of lies and pain. Pretending was an escape, which helped me not only overcome the pain I had been suffering, but allowed me to feel as though I were normal for a while. It made me feel like I was a human being. Something I’d yearned to feel like for so many years.  These incidents happened so quickly and many years have passed. But today the memories are still haunting.

In the past I had embraced my desire to be something I’m not. But today I will seek to be someone who makes me feel complete. I will no longer wear the mask I had worn for so many years. I will seek truth in myself and accept what has transpired throughout my life. But I will continue to pretend, now in a fun and joyful manner; because yesterday, today, and tomorrow, I am, deep inside, the Great Pretender.