The Show

Once upon a time, I thought I was the only one putting on a show.  My own secret, elaborate, production.  The whole world my theater.  The script only in my head.  Written by me, produced by me, starring me, but, always trying to please them.

Changing hats as fast as they could throw them at me.  Blending in like a chameleon to all their backgrounds.  Trying to be all that they wanted me to be.  Never showing the real me, whom I was sure they wouldn’t want to see anyway.  I played along, and played my various roles.  Each part I took on, just a piece of me, or perhaps not an inkling of me at all.  It was hard to tell.  I was that good.

Who was that masked girl?  Who knows?!  Who cares?!!
On with the show!!!

When the lights would dim and they all went home, I shed my tears, and make up, and looked forward to the day when I would grow. Grow up, or grow into one role or another.  I thought, maybe time would allow me the ability to pick the part I liked best.  Or perhaps, one of these characters would just grow on me.  Literally, just take me over and save me the labor of choosing.  At one time, I even dreamed that perhaps there might be a prince who would rescue me – kiss me and wake me from this sleep, this exhausting dream…   and love me for me… for the real me (whoever that was?).  Once that happened, then, I thought, then the show could end…
and my life could begin.

But no…  the show…  it must go on… and on… and on.

Then, one day I discovered a secret.  It happened quite by accident when I ventured out of my own private theater and into the street to get a bite to eat.  Donning my sun-glasses and scarf, so that nobody would recognize any part of me, I went into stealth mode.  I was waiting in line, incognito, at the vending cart for a hot dog – when it hit me.  “It” was something so powerful it overcame the of stench of sauerkraut wafting in the air.  Far juicer than any chili-dog for sale, it caused the world to stop rotating for a moment, and my spinning head somehow miraculously caught up with it.  Just for one divine moment, one beautiful glimpse, the world and I moved in unison.  Everything suddenly did something it never had done before in my past – it all made sense.  Like the smile that was creeping across my face, it dawned on me – that I had discovered their secret.

As I looked around me as everything focused into crystal clarity.  My secret, my production was just one in millions taking place along a boulevard of re-runs, private peep-shoes, and many-a-splendor-id one-man masterpieces.  Private theater after private theater lined up and down every street.  All of them thinking they were the only theater in town.  So busy with their own productions that they didn’t even see the boulevard, yet alone each other!  Yet, there they were..  and they were not nearly as mysterious, or as good as actors, or ALONE, as they believed themselves to be!   Such drama!  But, not one prince to wake anyone.   No fairy-tales with sunsetted happy endings.  Just people, everywhere, all busy putting on their own one-man-shows.  All of them, changing their hats, playing their roles, sleep walking, hiding, pretending, and thinking to themselves that nobody knows the “real them”.

But, I do.
I do now.
I’m onto them all.
I’m onto you all.
And, from now on,
I’m sitting back…
smiling contently…
with my popcorn….
and enjoying
The Show.

~  smj

~ The Show Must Go On, by Queen

9 Comments to “The Show”

  1. It makes our shows feel less like a drama and more like a comedy. Wonderful.

  2. If only I could get my daughter to understand this amidst all her preteen worries. NO ONE is watching you. Their watching themselves, because they’re just as worried about being caught doing something uncool, awkward or stupid. Once people realize this, things really change. Welcome to the club.

    • Thanks Nora… and, yes… in general people, especially kids, worry too much about what others are thinking of them. I did figure that part out and joined that club long ago too.. but, I also know that many of us hold on to these alter egos… or they grow up into bigger ones. We compartmentalize our lives.. with alias blog names and professional images vs. our social ones, etc. Often, going much deeper… with false bravado, fake smiles, and false senses of security… protecting ourselves from old wounds, perhaps…. and that club, I’m also not only a member of, but could have been president… LOL ;)

  3. This is very much in line with the idea of dramaturgy as coined by sociologist Erving Goffman in the late 1950s. Check out “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life” if you have some time; it’s very readable and very interesting.


  4. Beautifully written, I love your style and though process!

    “When the lights would dim and they all went home, I shed my tears, and make up, and looked forward to the day when I would grow”

    These lines sting, they reach inside of me and show me what I see every single day of my life.

    So much of late have I been thinking of this mask, this role I play, to hide the part of me that is me, I speak the words, smile the smile, but its all fake, its not me…I often wonder if my words are heard at all. Waiting, always waiting for some life to begin, something, though I have forgotten now what!

    • your words are heard, I’m sure, at least by some…. and, I consider myself one of the lucky ones to hear them. You write beautifully. The funny part to me of all this, is just how NOT alone we really are with these thought processes that seem to be so isolating and unique as we experience them.

      Glad you liked that post. I’d like to put it here in this thread too as I think it’s fitting:

      “For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. THEN, life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”
      ~Fr. Alfred D’Souza

  5. save some popcorn for me ;) lovely post Samantha… I could relate to your dream.. but in my case I didn’t dream of prince Charming.. but he just walked into my life out of nowhere and showed me who I really am… I have a poem on that here:

    check it out if you can :)


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