How often do we re-invent ourselves? On a daily basis perhaps.
If the re-invention process is successful I wonder what I should do with the old ‘self’, the old Marjorie. Then I realised that it’s not really possible – for me, at least – to separate myself into ‘old’ and ‘new’ versions of me. My life is a tad more complicated than that. I think that I manage multiple parts of my personality at the same time. Let me explain. With different relationships I have a different part of me to share with each person: that’s almost like wearing a different mask, or showing a different face. It’s all me, but different. Like the sun, it’s all sun but it looks different at different times of the day and from various locations of the earth.
I remember when a cousin first travelled to the UK from Jamaica, I saw him standing at the window on his first morning in the shires, he was just looking at the sky. Then he spoke, slowly, and a touch sadly, “The sun is a lie.” I was puzzled, but he continued, his head turned slightly to one side with the heavy disappointment of losing a familiar friend, “It looks like the sun, but it doesn’t feel like the sun.” His conclusion made sense. His relationship to the sun had altered with the miles of travel, but the sun was still the same, just showing a different side of itself in a different situation. Here it was necessarily lightly masked by clouds and driven by wind.
What works in one place doesn’t necessarily work in another. The same can be said for relationships and the parts of our personality that we share.
In a way we can be like the sun and become so good at masking the various parts of our character that we build up a hard exterior and hide under layers of self-deception. The main concern that I have is that one day it may become too hard to take off any of the masks. The more I think about it, the chief problem that I see with having this interchangeable mask-like life is that one mask may be so effective that it becomes the only one we wear, and then we lose the other, valuable, parts of ourselves.
If we re-invent to prevent others from seeing us, then we have to tread cautiously in case – in the process – we change a single temporary mask into a permanent suit of full-body armour.
The last thing we should do is to be a lie.
I know it’s not comfortable to continue life as an invention, a fiction, a life behind a mask.