I'm a Big Faker
Cool Life Tip #2.
It's okay to prototype several, maybe more than several, versions of yourself. How are you supposed to find out who you are, if you don't
know who you're not?
On New Years Eve, I decided to bleach my hair and dye it grey. The decision-making process leading up to this was the following: 1. I'd wanted to do this since my junior year of college. 2. All of my personal heroes have crazy white hair. (Daenerys Targaryen, Miranda Priestly, Annie Clark, Anderson Cooper, Storm from X-Men, etc.) 3. I love making painful and/or expensive decisions in an effort to relieve some anxiety before a national holiday.
My silver hair called for a multitude of selfies in natural light and against colored backdrops. As someone who puts a gross amount photos of himself on social media, I (quite willingly) subject myself to, and try to be aware of, the criticism regarding the gross and admittedly posed portraits of who I am on Instagram, etc. Responses ranged.
"I hardly recognized him!"
"He's become a caricature of himself."
"It looks fake."
Yes!!!!!! Exactly! The reason I dyed my hair was because I wanted to be someone I'm not. I was tired of looking at myself in the mirror and wanted a reason to step into the bathroom every morning, look at my reflection in the mirror, and be surprised. I can be sensitive to what people think of me, but I'm rather pleased that reactions to my new 'do were so spot on.
I love faking it. It's one of my favorite things. I think everyone should do it. I find great thrill going to Starbucks and telling the barista my name is Hercules. It's easy for people to point out when you're "trying to be someone you're not" as if that's a bad thing. Personally, I find it an exercise. To me, it's the same as trying on pairs of jeans or taking one bite of every chocolate inside the box. It's okay to prototype several, maybe more than several, versions of yourself. How are you supposed to find out who you are, if you don't know who you're not?
Let's say I undergo several more versions of myself. Dozens, even. I dye my hair pink and purple. Pierce every surface of my body. Get a gold shellac manicure, take on a pleather catsuit phase, and ride a scooter everywhere around New York.
Let's say I get famous. Let's say I get an interview with Barbara Walters, and we sit down, and after she pours me a glass of water, the first thing she asks me is, "Now, Fran. We love you. We love all your kooky looks. We love your crazy clothes and your hair. But who is the real you. Who is that underneath all there?"
It's a question we hear a lot in interviews, but does it really have an answer? Do you, or does Barbara, actually believe there's some realer, truer self inside that we're somehow able to summon as if it were there all along? As if we all aren't still figuring it out. Regardless of your appearance, if you were asked that question, would you have an answer?