What's real and what's not?

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ozbub

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I've given considerable thought lately to my identity, and the way I present myself to the world. Now while I wouldn't describe myself as a fake, my life has been a careful construct of personas, each designed to meet the expectations of others and to carefully conceal my most precious secret...me.

I've always described myself as a chameleon quite adept at fitting in (thank goodness for powers of observation). Now I realise that most people develop masks to protect their vulnerabilities, but I'm seeing now that mine have been more akin to very clever role playing. In other words, I can't really identify a single adolescent or adult persona that I've had, that is authentically me. The only persona which has ever felt completely honest and free is little me. Even now, as I type this, I feel like I am being someone else. I can't really give examples except to say that every adult interaction I have, even with those closest to me, is a put on.

I guess I've always known really, however the penny dropped for me while listening to some music today. As I listened I began to identify with the genre and my personality shifted quite noticeably...I was beginning to role play in much the same way that little kids do, when they assume various adult characteristics. I tend to do the same when I watch movies and certainly when I move between social groups. The only genuinely consistent but all so private persona is little me.

Even though engaging my little self involves a degree of role play, it is more a way of distracting myself from the adult physicality...that I can't control, but my deepest and most honest feelings have always been little...total freedom comes when I suspend any need to 'be' anything in particular, and just be....me. Guess where that is hahaha...whenever I relax, my demeanour always defaults to 'little'

It's kind of confusing, because I'm not saying that I'm a baby trapped in an adults body...it's obviously way more complicated than that, and I don't even set out for the day with the thought that I'm now pretending to be big. Everything I do, is done with integrity, it's just that it's not really me, rather me being the person I'm expected to be....all the time with my little self wanting to escape and be free. Often I do visualise myself doing precisely what I feel like....amusing day dreams. If my teachers had only really known where my mind was when they described me as a day dreamer. Lmao.

Apologies for the long post, but I'm just interested whether this is a common experience for you, or whether your little time is more just a kind of amusement/comfort thing.
 
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MarchinBunny

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I sort of get what you mean but sort of in a different sense, more to do with being transgender I mean. But not quiet just that.

To give an example, you all know how I am on these forums. How I talk, my all logical view points, liking to debate ... and so on and so fourth. I can sometimes come off as being a strong person, someone who is capable of getting through a lot.

However, that isn't the me I feel like is the most honest. That is the me that is constructed to present to others. The public.
The me on the inside though is more often than not, a girly girl so to speak. Times when I am angry on the outside, I am crying on the inside. Times I say I am fine on the outside, on the inside I might feel lonely and be longing for someone to hold onto me tightly and to tell me everything is ok. On the outside I enjoy debates, but on the inside I hate feeling like I am fighting or upsetting someone. It tears my heart out if I feel like I may have hurt someone or upset them. On the inside I like to get along with everyone. I am a goofy person, happy go lucky and just a ball full of energy who freaks out over cute things.

However, for some reason it's just not the type of person I present myself to be in real life, or on the internet. I have a feeling even though it feels like it's who I am honestly, it's actually not entirely the case. Rather it's who I wish I was. While, I may have some of those qualities, they are buried deep within me, and are not actually entirely me. Rather it's the collection of my outside self and my inside self that makes me who I am. In other words, the outside self is still the real me, but so is the inside self. It just so happens the outside self are the qualities that happen to get shown most often and the inside qualities that i show less often, I wish I would show more often. If that makes any sense.

And for some reason ... I am getting deja vu, o.o Feel like I had this conversation before once.
 

silentdreamer1996

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When it comes to how I view myself, I see a small child/toddler clad in a cloak adorned with multiple masks both worn and hanging from a sash bandolier. I constantly have to wear masks to hide my true orientation, feelings, desires, goals, and thoughts.
 

siysiy

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Hi ozbub.

Thanks you for being open.

You are not alone. Play acting is something I learnt to do from a young age.

Because if I gave my honest answer I may be in trouble if it was not what my parents wanted to hear. But this really did not help me.

No I am learning to drop all these silly masts that I put on to meet the expectations of what other people and Society wants from me. And just be who I really am. Little Sisi. This is a name I have give little me. As it was something that I was called when I was a child.

I was to fight and to use my real name that start but it is Simon. How ever I like Sisi. Simon Comes with a lot of baggage.

Trying to meet other people's expectations of me lead to health issues.

Now I have decided to be me 24/7. This has ment that I have had to make a conscious choice. Not to construct Little Sisi. But to make freands with my self. Also to Mack a conscious choice. On what I do, what I watch on TV, look at on the Internet and films. Only stuff that is appropriate for child. There as been loads of other subtle changes as I have done this which I did not notice at first. Also I have noticed habit forming like sucking on a pacifier. And wanting to wear diaper.

And I'm am actually ok with this.

The biggest change of notice is this feeling of contentment that I have.

Am I a naughty boy at times, yes of course. That is all part and parcel of it.

I'll keep saying this but I really like my lifestyle choice.

I was going to type something out about thought, word and deed. And i still might all about making freands with your self.

Hope this makes some sense and is helpful.

Sisi.
 

TyphaHare

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I'm outgoing and straightforward. I'd say I'm exactly who I am.
I'm lucky in this sense ._. I have not compromised to be someone else even if I've had a "work persona" or stuff like that, it has just been normal variation of who I am depending on the situation.
 

Sanch

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I'm usually pretending to some extent. I think we all are.

The 'me' who turns up to work is more serious and mainstream than I feel I naturally am. The 'me' who meets up with my high school friends always comes down on the side of cheery goofiness, regardless of whether I'm feeling fun. The 'me' in the dating world always attempts to come off that bit more experienced and confident than I really am.

The 'me' who enjoys playing, acting and thinking as a little still has an adult brain and intellect, but feels it's best to try and disengage with that side of myself in that situation.

For better or worse, I think we're very rarely being entirely our natural selves because we're usually searching for a feeling, a response or an achievement which comes from a slightly different, forced place.
 

Faelan

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I think you've hit the nail on the head, so to speak. Every now and then you come across the idea of someone "wearing masks," either in writing or what have you. I bet a lot of people here can relate. Nearly all of us identify as AB/DL to some degree. We have this part of us that is so fundamental to who we are that it's sometimes hard to adequately describe. And for all that, as far as I can tell, most of us manage to lead entirely separate lives with family and friends who know nothing about what we might call our true selves.

There's a theory about this in sociology called Dramaturgy. I've actually talked about it before on ADISC, since it somehow came up when I wrote my introduction. The creator, Erving Goffman, was interested in describing the context in which we interact. He chose to do so by likening life to a play. In the dramaturgical prospective everyone is an actor. There are times when we are Front Stage. These are the times we put on a mask, when we play a role and behave in a way that isn't necessarily like our base behavior because such behavior is expected of us. In contrast with that is Back Stage, where the audience is gone, the mask comes off, and we are free to act more in accordance with our base personality.

What causes the transition between Front Stage and Back Stage is the act of Impression Management. The idea is that, as people, we seek to manage how other people view us (also see the idea of Social Proof in psychology). It's not that we're all impostors so much as it's a defensive technique that's developed so that many distinct people with different values can interact in society without resulting chaos.

Anyway, all of this is to say that yes, it's a pretty common experience. Not everyone has a base personality they would describe as little, but many of the processes we engage in are considered pretty rational as far as Anthropology, Sociology, and Psychology go.
 

dogboy

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We Wear the Mask
BY PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask.

We all do this to some extent. We do it for our own survival. At the same time, it's not unusual to have different aspects to our personality. Our public persona is going to be different from the person we are at home, in the comfort of our surroundings. To discard our masks, we may become Donald Trump. Who would we rather be, because sometimes, we also try to to be caring and sympathetic toward others. It's the fine art of being human and perhaps, civilized.
 

TheCaptain

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...however the penny dropped for me while listening to some music today. As I listened I began to identify with the genre and my personality shifted quite noticeably

What sort of music were you listening to (song/artist)?

We all act differently confronted with different situations and in different settings. I don't think I wear a mask, so to speak. The way I see it I'm always "here" (to myself) and "there" (to everyone else), and vice versa, regardless of what I'm doing or how I'm acting.

We all wear masks or pretend to some extent as others have pointed out here, but we choose to wear that mask or pretend to act that way for a reason and that alone reflects a lot about who we are on the inside. With that said, some of us may act so against our beliefs that it really doesn't convey who we truly are or it even misrepresents who we really are, but most rational and healthy individuals understand enough of their own existence to not act too out of line from who they are while still acting accordingly to the current situation.
 

LittleManAlex

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From my experience I know you are not alone.

Like you I wouldn't say my persona is fake. My persona is who part of who I am because at an earlier age than most I learned I could not rely on anyone but myself... My persona is almost the complete opposite of me in many ways. If anything I see my persona as lie, right now I feel like it's all a lie, I don't know if this is the same for everyone but I wouldn't say I feel the need to be a two year old, but that the true me is a two year old, I feel more at peace in my baby state than I do at any other time I feel like for the only time I'm being honest with myself.

Big me, is who I had to be, Staunch, strongly independent who relies on no one, someone whose eccentric, but the whole time I know it's a lie, I know it's a mask, and then I compartmentalize... Very few people know my story, I can count it on 3 fingers, but I would say no one knows the true me. Well except everyone here to a degree. I feel at home here, I feel safe, I can show the true me.

But at the end of the day, I then have to leave and live the lie all over again.

I'm a walking contradiction.
 

ozbub

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What sort of music were you listening to (song/artist)?.

Well actually I was driving and feeling a bit low, and that usually gets me daydreaming 'little' well not that great when your in charge of a pickup hurling through the hills...... Anyway, hit spotify for some distraction, Metallica was the choice. As you might imagine it didn't take long for my demeanour to change. I can't feel little when I'm belting out stuff like that. Back in the day when I was struggling to accept myself I used to listen to metal as a kind of reaction and to try and make myself more bad ass..lol. That was a distraction and something to hide behind I guess, but I did kind of enjoy the adrenaline rush. The other day I was having a massive little mood day when I get a call from a mate "hey come and see Deadpool with me" ummm yeah of course.... needless to say I was not feeling little by the end of the opening credits yah! or for a while after... but come bedtime.... no more tough guy hahaha :paci:

btw....Deadpool... awesome :D
 

Little2Roo

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Ozbub, this is a really thoughtful thread. Thanks for starting it, as it has got me thinking. I, too, find myself struggling with authenticity - being more open about the true me - and secrecy - protecting the vulnerable little me. I, too, am very good at meeting other's expectations, and putting on a mask. I can't say I have a great answer to that problem. Still working on it.

Here is a concept I am trying out. True freedom is being any age you want. Being little all of the time might be a bit confining, and being grown up all the time isn't satisfying either. The trick is alternating between them in a way that does not feel fake. I'll let you know when I've got that figured out.
 

ozbub

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Here is a concept I am trying out. True freedom is being any age you want.

:hugs: thanks Deke, maybe all of life is just a big game and being authentic to ourselves is playing the bits we truly want to. I guess the hard part is having the courage to overcome playing the bits that others expect of us...if they truly accepted us they would allow us the freedom to be what comes natural.
 

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:hugs: thanks Deke, maybe all of life is just a big game and being authentic to ourselves is playing the bits we truly want to. I guess the hard part is having the courage to overcome playing the bits that others expect of us...if they truly accepted us they would allow us the freedom to be what comes natural.

Very True, ozbub and yes if people truly accepted us they would. :)
 

silentdreamer1996

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As my signature says
"Creativity is the voice of the soul,
Yet even a voice can be lost in translation,
And this madness that ensues is but an intelligence, one for whom society has yet to understand."
 

ozbub

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As my signature says
"Creativity is the voice of the soul,
Yet even a voice can be lost in translation,
And this madness that ensues is but an intelligence, one for whom society has yet to understand."

You've got it there for sure. I'm thinking this always when I'm trying to discus my abstract paintings... it can be sort of disappointing, but so many people lack the specific intelligence to get what I'm expressing. So it makes perfect sense to me that trying to explain something like being AB to someone that is not, will only ever be 'kind of' understood at best. Like I'm always saying to my partner, I wish you could be in my head even for just five minutes...then you'd understand.
 

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Default set to "little" here as well. Littling out for me is a "letting go," not an active thing I have to do or put on. On some level, I guess I am constantly fighting the urges to be little.

Oz, this is a GREAT thread, thank you!
 
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