Speaking of writing a blog post, I had a thought today. More or less, my thought was that...I am very, very, very largely an illusionist. Not in the traditional sense of levitating a coin, disappearance acts, sawed in half acts, or whatnot. Magicians specializing in illusions are one thing, but I'm a master of a different type of illusion.
What type of illusion do I cast?
One over me. By which, I mean...well, this blog was established so that people could get a view of me, 100% without filter. (Not that you've been seeing much of that recently, due to decay from various different factors, butstill.) I made it quite clear, though, early on what the implication of that was: nobody knows even close to all there is about my true self. Hidden within me is all these myriads of different layers of things about me. Some good, lots bad, that never get seen, sometimes not even on here, and which only a small fraction of people get to catch so much as glimpses of.
What do people see instead of that, then? If not the true me, what is it that they see? They see an illusion. They see what I allow them to see, what I present for them to see. Generally, this image is what I feel like I need to be seen as. If I feel like I need to be competent, then I will let myself be competent. If I feel like I need to be incompetent, then I will let myself be incompetent. Play the leader, I can if necessary, be the devoted follower, I can do that too. (More on this in a bit.) If I feel the need to be outgoing, then I will suddenly become outgoing in spite of my shyness. If I feel the need to let others fill that role, then I let them fill it and take the back stage, watching them.
(Incidentally, this is why I am such a competent mafia player. This, above all other things, is my skill as a person. As town, I know what role I need to fill, step into it, and make it work. As mafia, I know precisely what needs to be done to manipulate people to my advantage, because I pick up on what they need to see and then I show it to them.)
In essence? I can make myself seen when I feel like I want to be seen, but I can also make myself disappear, vanish into the background. I can present any image of myself, depending on the group I'm in. Some of them feel more real than others, but none of them are truly me. It's a great talent, but also one that can make me feel a bit like an outcast. Yes, I can blend in rather easily. Yes, I can fit in. While I'll have some quirks, I'll manage to at least superficially feel like I belong. Sometimes, I will feel like even though I'm different, I can make a difference, and will use my difference to impart a positive change, which is good.
...But even when I do that, all I feel like I've done is made it so that the environment I'm in has been slightly modified as to be more suited for my camouflage, that all I've done is made the ease of casting the illusion better, that instead of making a truly big difference in everyone's lives, all I've done is yet another illusion:
They get happier, because they see what they want to see, and I get happiness from their happiness, but it's all from that illusion. It's not that what they see is actually a true lie. What they see is just a misdirection of my conception, in that it presents aspects of me, generally exaggerated, and hides others.
I mean, on different days I'm different people entirely. In different places, I'm different people entirely. But at my core, there's certain aspects of me that never change. These fundamental truths of me, I keep close to me. And I'm not sure they ever get shown off. Here in the blog where I use minimal filters to my thoughts and try to present as many of them as possible is probably the closest I get. They're protected. As much for others as for me, in that while my core self has plenty of good, there is also a ton of nasty, nasty, very, very, very bad stuff in there. (Can't have good without evil, as I say. I have a ton of good in me, I'm pretty sure, but I know for a fact that there's a LOT of bad in me as well, it's just that I hide it incredibly well from everyone.)
Thus the illusions. They're not just to protect myself, they're also to protect others. The full, unfiltered me? Is not something I'd ever want to live through as an outsider. I do a lot of good. There's a lot of things in my mind that are most likely unique to me, that shouldn't disappear from the world, because of their potential to help others. But a fair number of them exist only because I first dealt with the negative counterpart.
Basically, I feel like that...for the most part, what I am is nearly impossible to define. I'm not having an identity crisis, and if ever there was a time to question my identity, it would be at my age, so I'm not worried. I'm just...a bit disappointed, that when I look at my life, I keep on thinking, "there's nothing there." Not because there isn't--there is. But because when I look at those things in my life, I keep on thinking, "everything in my life that people compliment me on is stuff that I presented to them".
I think the meaning comes across. In short...I look for their approval. I give them what I think they want, hoping that they will be impressed, that they will compliment me. There's nothing that I do just for me, that I actually am proud of. In part because for the most part, I become proud of things by presenting them and getting that praise. There's stuff that I've done that I can be proud of, but everything there I put forward as the illusion, albeit a well-crafted, half-truthful one that takes incredible skill to make. (For instance, when people hear all of my hobbies, they're impressed with how much I do. They don't realize that it is for this very reason that I have so many, that I actually don't do them all consistently, a fact that is kept out of sight by the illusion. I might be a good writer, but I'm not published or even close. I might be a competent artist, but I'm nowhere near consistent. You get the idea.)
People are complex. Me moreso than most. I wish I could say there was a point to this, but the closest thing I've got to one is a desire to just be complimented on ordinary things, and have those compliments be sincere, without me having prompted them. That I could be liked without the illusions I instinctively cast, I suppose.