Once, I traded who I was for proving something. The first big trade. I'm not sure, still, what I was trying to prove, except that I had it all together and hadn't been stupid in the first place. Except I didn't. And I had. But I held on. I am a hanger on. Quitting was a cardinal sin in my family growing up. Quitters were vile. Hell, liars were better. So, I lied. I faked happiness. I faked a lot of things. And it worked on most people. Not that it took that much skill - I spent years living far away from anyone who really knew me or cared about me. Never staying anywhere too long makes it easy to cover the cracks. The funny thing is, anyone who knows me will tell you I'm a terrible liar. And they're right. Except I'm a decent actress, and despite what you might think, that isn't the same thing. Actresses don't lie - they play pretend. I'm a book nerd and a daydreamer. I can do pretend.
Until I couldn't anymore. What I had to trade stopped being worth it. Going to graduate school and getting my Masters of Fine Arts in Writing is where I started realizing that, mostly because I woke up.
“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.” ― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934