I think he could see it right through me, “You’re doing this tasteless thing for attention,” his eyes would look at mine (never directly, we’re not used to that kind of directness) and he reminded me of something a friend once told me, “you can’t fake your way till you make it.”
I believed in faking it till you make it. I felt offended when my close friend noted that it was an either/or position, that if you’re X, don’t pretend to be Y. At that time we were talking (bad-mouthing, really) about this asshole classmate of hers whose arrogance I sensed the first time I laid my eyes on him. My friend and this person were rivals.
But this person, I wondered, why would he fake it? He had the money, the friends, the background to be uppity and fancy. (I acknowledge that the term I used — uppity and fancy —- is full of prejudices).
Have I been trying to be uppity and fancy? I detested the amount of attention put into this lifestyle— what it means to be educated and cultured. How extensive, but also intensive it was to be in this crowd. Sometimes it’s damn useless that I laughed — and thought of my father’s coarse hands, his oil-stained working shirt and my mother’s nagging on mornings when I woke up late and refused to help her with the housework.
It kills me to be in the middle. Constantly grounding down from the elitism that the uppity class seemed to call for but then trying to be better than what I thought life meant during my formative adolescent years. It’s tiring because while I recognize the world is not absolutes, I’ve failed to consider the grey areas and lived comfortably accepting this. Instead, I insisted on making the choices between black and white, or worse, romanticizing about this process.
But there is a kind lady, in my head, whose smile mimicked my own on very good days, who’d console me, “You’re in your formative years, still. So it’s alright.”
I’m still very awkwardly shy, but upfront. I talk in as-a-matter-of-fact tone but also have eyes that roam around the room (or, all over you) and hands that won’t stop making shapes as gestures and actions to what I am saying. It is both a true self and a performance that i am sharing with you, both a true person but also an audience.
He won’t ever understand this, of course, because he too, is in his formative years, still.