Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Representative

As I was writing a guest post for The Unlost 2 weeks ago, the irony of ME writing about Alien-Nation smacked me in the face.  Why’s that?
My number one pet peeve: Fake-a** people.
My number one flaw: Not being my real self the majority of the time. 
A tad contradictory.  There’s the me who writes this (anonymous) blog, the me I send to work, the me who interacts with friends or family, and the me I am when I’m alone. Soooo….which me is the real me?  Any?!  All????  Won’t the real me PLEASE stand up…

Instead of being who I actually AM, I instead feel everyone else out to see who I’m dealing with.  Then, if anyone can pass my CRAZILY-high-standards-of-sincerity-test, I consider the possibility that I might not have to hide so much in front of this person.  Not right away, mind you (no chance of that), but WAAAAYYY down the line, after they have convinced me over and over that they aren’t harboring ulterior motives.  I pretend my little “screening process” is some sort of guarantee that said person won’t end up screwing me over.  And it doesn’t escape me that I’m requiring far more authenticity from others than I am offering of myself. 

In some ways this is a commentary on my personal dysfunction, which I happily (happily?) own, but moreso it’s a commentary on our society’s dysfunction.  Because I didn’t get this way by accident.  Time and again, people showed me – in a hundred thousand ways, big and small – that my REAL self wasn’t welcome at the party.  That I was TOO serious-idealistic-intense-sarcastic-fill-in-the-blank.That I was insufficiently cool-mainstream-status-quo-upholding.  That something about me (namely…..ME) was unacceptable, and I was going to be punished if I didn’t cover it up.  You step one foot outside that box, and they will chop that f**ker right off.

And so, in order to even think about how I could not feel estranged from others, I have to get my head around how I became alienated from mySELF.  From the parts of myself that I disown, not just in the company of others, but in the privacy of my own being…the not-me that I, myself, reject.  We all have this dichotomy; it’s the human condition (though of course we are convinced otherwise).  What’s even worse than being unacceptable to others…is being ashamed of your own feelings, and the mask you hide behind.  

But I think I finally figured out my M.O.

How I operate in life is "I" send my representative out to talk for me.  For demonstration's sake, let's call her Hobag, cuz I do hate the bitch, after all (plus, it’s just plain fun to say the word hobag).  Hobag is fake-me, whereas "I" am real-me.  

As words come out of my mouth, I occasionally find myself asking, WHO is this talking?  It doesn't sound like me.  Do I sound fake as fu*k?  Cuz I sure FEEL fake as fu*k.  

That's the best way I can describe what it’s though I'm looking through a window into the world - out there - while "I" stay hidden deep inside.   I have thus solved the mystery of our Alien-Nation, for if I am disconnected from my SELF, how could I possibly feel connected to another human being?  How do I know that when I sit down with you, you're not sending your own hobag out to greet me?  It’s doubtful I’m ever talking to you at all!  Rather, MY representative is chatting it up with YOUR representative.  

And so, in every instance where I feel threatened for some reason or another (loosely translated: every social encounter I have), out she goes.  Public speaking?  Get out there, Hobag.  Scary group situation?  Hobag.  Work consultation?  Ho.  Chat with my friend?  Sadly, probably her, too.  The nice thing about her is that she can do stuff “I” can’t.

In complex psychological terms, the depersonalization of “feeling detached from, and as if one is an outside observer of, one's mental processes or body falls under dissociation.  Whether we're daydreaming our workday away, numbing ourselves to deaden the emotions we don't dare allow to come out, or all-out fragmenting parts of ourselves, we all use this defense mechanism at some level.  

What it tells me is that "I" feel soooo unsafe in the world that "I" can't bear to show up.

I form words, and I hear them coming out of my lips, but I don't feel like I'm really -there- saying them.  

Sort of like I'm sitting off in the corner watching the encounter take place.  Despite the fact that I've become increasingly cognizant of the phenomenon, "I" don't seem able to shut Hobag up long enough for my real self to come out.  

So here I am, a splintered human being, unable to assimilate all these different personas I’ve created just to get through life.  Our individual lack of integration is causing complete societal disintegration. 

Do you have a representative (and what’s his/her name)?
Leave a comment or e-mail me:  downfromtheledge at yahoo dot com

Check out the follow-up post:
Alien-Nation, Part 2: Breaking the Habit of YOU

Follow Bri on Facebook.


  1. A couple things first - awesome new blog format - never seen this type of blog format anywhere:)'re a phenomenal writer!! hopefully you work in an industry that allows you to WRITE!! and make $$ off this talent.

    Secondly, love your personal representative and how you send her out into the real world to do your talking, living and interacting! I think it's something we all probably do sometimes and like you say, increases our fakeness or inauthenticity in our lives. But the reality is, we're not perfect people and we sort of need an ambassador for ourselves to be a representative to the world. When you're thinking, I hate this *$&#*(@), your ambassador says, love your purse. hahaha. cause if we went around sayign what we really felt and who we were all the's probably not best for the society around us. lol

    Thirdly, this may be kind of out there but you describe this process of dissociation but some philosophies, religions (Hinduism) for example describes a world that's a stage and we are all actors out there. Everything is unreal and fake and we're just playing our parts in it. the world is disillusion (maya) If you're already operating from that place of being, you're a wise soul who's not splintered but simply see the world for what it is (an illusion) that is a powerful realization, in my opinion:)

  2. First, that means so much! And no, despite writing being the one thing I was always encouraged to pursue, I never did. Or maybe "haven't yet." Someday?

    Secondly, you're right, we'd be downright dangerous without our ambassadors!

    Thirdly, it's not 'out there' for me; my undergrad was in philosophy (Continental, Existentialism being most engrossing for me) and the concept of the "hyperreal" and the world being a stage...fascinating to me.

  3. I like this blog format too--very clean and those tabs that appear on the side when you scroll over are reminding me of those picture books where you can move the tabs to make the pictures move.

    I kind of feel sorry for Hobag that you dislike her because she's "fake you." She sounds like a good friend and protector. Maybe you could think of her as just a facet of you that acts as a mirror to reflect people's projections and expectations of you to be a certain way? Since theoretically I believe change starts to happen with acceptance of our hated parts. And, I've been thinking lately about parts of me, qualities I don't like, that make me feel ashamed or guilty, but instead of thinking of them as being not me, I'm thinking instead of how I might have absorbed or "matched" expectations/emotions/qualities from the people around me and that's why they feel so terrible in my body.

  4. Your comment makes me ponder whether it's really Hobag I hate at all; my real fear is that I hate real-me. In fact, I'm almost certain of it. So if "change starts to happen with acceptance of our hated parts," how do we go about that work?

    "And that's why they feel so terrible in my body;" what this line of thinking brings up for me is a recollection that we absorb the emotions and moods of others as if they were our own, a blending that begins in pre-verbal infancy with our mothers. For a moment I was taken back to philosophy class-Lacan-Freud:

    "The potential space between baby and mother, between child and family, between individual and society or the world, depends on experience which leads to trust. It can be looked upon as sacred to the individual in that it is here that the individual experiences creative living." -D.W. Winnicott

    1. ooh. I bookmarked that looks really juicy, but I can't really process anything new at 1am. The medical intuitive I talked to said that Theo veered away from normal speech development because of witnessing my arguments with my husband. That's what I'm thinking of now when I think of babies blending with their mothers--ack!

      As for fearing hating real-you...I think that's not actually possible. It's the fear trapping an image of self-hatred into a bubble and freezing it in place so you observe it but never pop it. Something like that. I think the acceptance releases the fear and allows the pop. Umm...I don't know if that metaphor works at all.

    2. it might be more philosophical gibberish than juicy-ness. but do you ever wonder what it would be like to go back and be a baby again? sort of like being in a foreign country where you can't speak the language, so all you know is the energy and emotion around you.

      i like the metaphor! what a fascinating way to look at it. your comments always make me think about things in a new way.