The Great Pretender

By Michael Armijo

I remember dressing up like batman, the little Kmart 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 6 million dollar man.

You would think it was healthy to give your imagination a chance to flourish, to enhance your creativity. However, without proper guidance, explanation, and influence, you never realize the difference between reality and fantasy. Without that, the lines of reality are blurred, so you embed in your mind that when life seems difficult you can act like 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 that didn’t exist, someone I never was and never could be. I reverted to my child like instincts and put on that Kmart batman mask, and I 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 in 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 wants to become a super hero. My lies were my super power and my reality was my kryptonite.

So as I pretended throughout my life, I liked the escape of not being who I was. Abused and neglected. Deceived and tormented. Tortured and ridiculed. Worse off, 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 like I was normal for a while. It made me feel as though I was a human being. Something I’ve been looking for so many years.

These incidents happened so quickly and many years have passed. However, today the memories are still haunting.

Today I will embrace my desire, to be something I’m not, to be someone who makes me feel complete. Someone who helped me wear a mask for so many years. Today I am still, deep inside,

The Great Pretender.