Big news: I may not be the man you think I am. I'm certainly not the man I want to be. If you've read more than two posts in this blog, you likely already know this. No, see, the man I actually am is not very respectable.
Maybe you've figured this out. It's possible you've been personally screwed over because of it, or that you've heard it through the grapevine. I probably won't come out and say it to you, not unless you're willing to commit a few hours to sharing a pair of barstools, and you might have to buy shots. But the list of people I'd talk to even if those conditions were met is very short. I am ashamed, you see.
So here's the truth: The real me, my True Self, took off 15 years ago or so, and left a shell that has been operated like a grotesque puppet by an Evil Twin on and off since. It's a lot like those movies where a guy is taken over and controlled by some entity, but occasionally breaks through to warn the people around him to flee before he loses control again.
Or maybe it's the other way around; maybe this has been the real me the entire time, and I wear my public perception like a garment so no one will suspect it. A wolf in sheep's clothing. I operate in this guise to manipulate those around me into thinking I'm a good guy.
Actually, both of these descriptions fit who I've become, but the key to understanding myself is that my True Self, the man I wish I could be, has been drowning, held under water by both the fearful and addictive behaviour of the Evil Twin, and the man driven by a desperate need to maintain a respectable public image.
Anyone who's known me any decent length of time has actually seen this True Self, this elusive man I'm struggling to free. You've each probably seen whatever little slice applies to our relationship, whatever that may be. Some of you have access to more slices than others. But I can't leave him out, you see, because he is both respectable and repulsive, both compassionate and cruel. He is not universally accepted, and so must be squelched in the name of social duties and standards.
This is a cruel fate, because this man, this True Self, is actually a good man. He's good because he will speak the truth even when it's offensive, but he is learning gentleness and tact. He's good because he speaks his mind, and is thorough and eloquent enough to do so in a way that even those who would be hurt by the words can't deny their truth. He's good because he honors his committments, even though he needs help learning how to say no, both to the people he should not cavort with, and those who pretend to like him but create unhealthy situations. He's good because he is willing to explore and develop himself in unexpected ways, and takes the risks necessary to realize change. And he's good because when he makes mistakes or misjudgements, he acknowledges them and pays his dues.
I do not know how I will manage these three identities: the pure deciever who lies for shame of the truth, the smiling neighbor and happy face at kids' school events, and the man in between, the one I really need to expose and become. I do not know who I will hurt or abandon in the process of revealing that man, first to myself, wholly for once in my life, and then to those who claim to love me. And then that love will most certainly be tested.
So whatever your relationship with me may be, consider this a disclaimer, but not an apology.