Don’t be fooled by me.
Don’t be fooled by the face I wear.
For I wear a mask,
I wear a thousand masks.
Masks that I’m afraid to take off,
and none of them are me.
Pretending is an art that’s second nature with me,
but don’t be fooled.
I give you the impression that I’m secure,
that all is sunny and unruffled with me,
within as well as without,
that confidence is my name and coolness my game,
that the water’s calm and I’m in command,
and that I need no one.
But don’t believe me… Please.
My surface may seem smooth,
but my surface is my mask,
my every-varying and ever-concealing mask.
Beneath lies no smugness, no complaceny.
Beneath dwells the real me in confusion,
in fear, in aloneness.
But I can hide this.
I don’t want anybody to know it.
I panic at the thought of
my weakness and fear being exposed.
That’s why I frantically create
a mask to hide behind,
a nonchalant, sophisticated facade,
to help me pretend, to shield me
from the glance that knows.
But such a glance is precisely
my salvation. And I know it.
if it’s followed by acceptance.
It’s the only think that can
liberate me, from myself,
from my own self-built prison walls,
from the barriers that
I so painstakingly erect.
It’s the only thing that will assure me
of what I can’t assure myself,
that I’m really worth something.
But I don’t tell you this,
I’m afraid your glance will not
be followed by acceptance and love.
I’m afraid you’ll think less of me,
that you’ll laugh.
and your laugh would wound me.
I’m afraid that deep-down
I’m not much and you will see this
and reject me.
So I play my game, my pretending game,
with a facade of assurance without,
and a trembling child within.
And so begins the parade of masks,
the glittering but empty parade of masks.
And my life becomes a front.
I idly chatter to you in the suave tones of surface talk,
I tell you everything that’s really nothin,
and nothing of what’s everything,
of what’s crying within me.
So when I’m going through my routine
do not be fooled by what I’m saying/
Please listen carefully and try
to hear what I’m not saying…
what I’d like to be able tosay,
Who am I? you may wonder,
I am someone you know very well,
For I am every man you meet
and every woman you meet.