me myself
a dirty puddle.
I you?

updated 3/22/98 draft

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It's the big city. Filmy, greasy oil dirties the puddles by the sides of the roads. Trash discarded by those too lazy for those who lack any desire for aesthetics lies around as if it belongs where it is. I stroll along the sidewalk calmly and naively, not expecting the head-on collision of insecurities fated for me. I stop on the side of the road and take a step into the street. What's that almost attractive watery, glittery oval next to the curb? Wham! It hits me.

A puddle. Not uncommon, by any means, but its contents are unique. In it, I see dirt, gasoline, small shimmering flecks of trash, dead bugs, and...my reflection. How fascinating is this puddle, an odd refuge from the smoggy air, fiery sun, and toxic fumes of the Hell we call the city. The puddle even has a certain beauty to it, even though it's polluted and foul. All the trash and dirt and chemicals actually improve my appearance... They doll me up. I see myself crystal-clear through the disgusting filth. I see myself as others see me, and I think more highly of myself in my reflection in this dirty puddle than I would normally.

The puddle hides what I normally see in myself. I know my opinions and my so-called "ambitions" and "failings" are there, but I don't see them in the puddle. Why do others think these qualities of my personality are all so ugly, and I don't? Is it better that all people see of me is the muck, what truly isn't me? Or is it better that the hidden me is the true me? Why do I see myself differently than others do?

Or perhaps people think what I see in the puddle is ugly and deformed. Maybe I have it backwards. Maybe I think I'm normal and attractive and youthful, but others see me as some wretched, sad monster. Maybe it doesn't matter what I think and what I feel. Maybe how I appear to be is what causes me to suffer so much.

And why is intelligence so strange when found in a teenager? Why does society encourage ignorance at such an early age? It is not an uncommon thing to be lauded because I have the ability to read, write, and think. Why? Because I actually care about life? Praise and support are wonderful things to have, yes, but in this case, it merely annoys me. I deserve to be treated like a thinking human being, not as some abnormal child who doesn't embrace stupidity. I don't take advantage of the attention intelligent teenagers get, yet other teens do. They trump themselves up and praise themselves for being able to create simplistic things at such an early age. And they get away with it -- those damn adults buy into the whole "love me" ruse -- while I receive nothing except confirmation my own identity. What's worse, I'm still treated the same way as those opportunists! Perception. It's deceptive, yet eerily seductive.

I remember that one day, where I dared to set foot on the Hall of Giants, the basketball court. Not unprepared, I had ceremoniously donned the shoes of victory, the embroidered Nikean swooshes on each shoe propelling me towards the clash with my opponent. The enemy, an older product than me, yet of the same parental blood, approached me to reach the goal and jumped with the vigorous strength of an inspired deity. Glory was his when the ball went through the hoop. Bear with me -- I assure you the overdone metaphor serves a purpose.

Divine powers are quick to correct excess pride. Just as Brutus served as the gods' tool to bring the mighty Caesar down, I somehow caused my brother's ankle to collapse on the curb. He crumpled to the ground, along with his short-lived glory. Of course I tried to help, but what about the woman who didn't even turn her head as she walked by? Poor woman -- she probably feared for her life. So she didn't help the two tanned, tough-looking basketball players out. Because, after all, isn't appearance everything? Wouldn't two men playing basketball in flamboyant black and white clothing obviously want to slit her throat? If one of them sprains his ankle, that only gives her time to get away safely. Bitch.

People try too hard to look better than they actually are -- they'll go to absurd lengths to make themselves look like those unnatural creatures, celebrities, and develop metaphoric imitations of Virgil in order to make sense of the most base details of their lives. And what for?

Our world is so superficial that it's hard to distinguish televisional fantasy from reality anymore. People are predictably shallow and one-dimensional. It's simply a struggle to gain success and popularity for these misinformed lab rats. Are they too hung up to truly live, to be human beings? "Carpe diem" is nothing more than a cute Latin proverb to them! What's wrong with people when they seek relaxation and comfort in being as cynical as possible?

Perhaps it's better that those types of people avoid me. I'm not going to put up a brand-new cardboard face and call it me. I'm not going to betray what shows up in my reflection or inside my skin. To get people to take notice of me is, no doubt, a Sisyphean burden. I may not be normal and I may not be extroverted, but I am definitely, wonderfully me. I shall be who I am, and not who others expect me to be. Fuck the puddle and the sexy, racy properties it bestows upon those who see their reflections in it.

But people only see that puddle, a shallow and dirty pool of water tainted by the hideous pollution of materialism. Society is shallow, just like that murky puddle. Maybe things will change eventually. Maybe. I can only hope that one day, the people I hate and disrespect will look up from the distracting sludge and see the real me, in reality.

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