What You See Ain’t All There Is

What you see is what you get. That’s a good description of me provided that it’s put into the context of me not putting on airs or presenting some false version of myself. In other words, I don’t change myself to fit in with what’s fashionable.

Do I mute some personality attributes while bringing out others to better fit the group of people I’m engaging with? Sure. That’s only good sense in order to better communicate and get along with a group. But that doesn’t mean I completely alter my personality to fit in. I don’t take on new traits or completely obliterate entire bits of myself.

What you see is what you get.

But I’ll be the first person to tell you that I don’t show everything.

I’m a very secretive person. I admit that. There are just some bits of myself that I don’t feel comfortable presenting to the world, some thoughts and ideas and feelings that I think are best kept to myself.

At least I think I keep them to myself. Sometimes I feel completely transparent when these thoughts or feelings bubble too close to my surface. I think everyone can see them. I try not to panic as I try to nonchalantly push them back down, but I feel like I’m just drawing more attention to what I’m trying to hide.

These aren’t big personality flaws I’m hiding. They’re not huge, image changing ideas I’m keeping to myself. They’re just little things I’d rather keep to myself. Little secrets that I don’t think anyone else needs to know. Because while they’re not huge image changing things, they are image changing things. Little tweaks maybe that would make people see me in a slightly different light.

But I’m not comfortable with that. Not yet anyway. It’s more comfortable for me to keep the secret.

I’ve known all of this for a while, but it’s really been brought into sharper focus recently as I’ve been working on a personal essay for a contest. I’m writing about something that I’ve only ever put into words before in the privacy of my journal. I wouldn’t think to discuss it with anyone else. And yet, the prospect of having total strangers read it doesn’t bother me. I suppose that’s because they’d only be judging me on my writing, not on the content of it. And even if they did judge the content, well, they’re strangers, aren’t they? I wouldn’t have to deal with any of the aftermath, wouldn’t have to answer any questions and pretend not to be affected by the funny looks.

It’s funny how I am perfectly willing to open up a vulnerable bit of myself to someone I don’t know in the context of writing for a contest, but I’d never dream of telling my closest friend the same thing. I think it’s the emotional distance involved in the former that I find comforting. That and the only fallout I’m concerned with is whether or not I win the contest in question.

It’s not that I want to keep myself emotionally closed off from my friends and family. I’m just not good with emotions. They’re messy, illogical things (sort of like teenagers, now that I think about it), and I’m just more comfortable keeping some of mine under tight reign and out of sight.

So, I keep bits of me secret.

I guarantee that what you do see is definitely what you get, though. Position yourself just right and who knows? You might end up seeing a little more.

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