And when I’m with you
I become someone new
A persona I don’t recognise
My true self I disguise
Because that’s what you desired
But now I’m tired
– © J. E. Fitzgerald –
Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent my whole life hiding. Once, when in therapy, my counsellor described me as a chameleon. She told me I was hypersensitive to my surroundings, and in order to cope I’ve learnt to shape myself – my personality and how I interact with people – in order to always be able to fit in, because of an inbuilt desire to always make other people happy.
While it is a skill which has it’s uses, I don’t really know how to switch it off, and it’s so exhausting sometimes not knowing what part of me is real. I think that’s why I become so introverted over the years: it’s a lot easier to know yourself when you’re alone.
I am tired of hiding. I shouldn’t have to pretend that nothings wrong in front of certain people or groups. You can switch off mental illness, you can’t switch off grief, or chronic pain. You can’t switch off your race or sexuality or religion. You are who you are. People should be accepting of that, and if they’re not, then I’m starting to think that life might be a little less stressful without those being people present.
If you ever feel like you are having to hide yourself from someone, ask yourself why you are doing it. Does it benefit you, or are you doing it for the approval of others? Remember to always put yourself first: other people deserve whatever version of you that you are most comfortable putting forward.
Have you experienced this feeling of being a chameleon at times? Leave your thoughts below, or send them in via email.