So, you wake up one day and you find yourself staring at a stranger in the mirror. And in addition to your eye-brows that need to be re-arched, a facial that is over-due and the nose job you have been contemplating, you also find yourself thinking a certain way, you are embedded with certain thoughts, beliefs, values, attitudes; you have a specific ideology and view point; you have dreams and aspirations; ‘morals’ and ‘standards’, and then you start to question yourself:- ‘’Who is this person in the mirror?’’, ‘’Am I ‘me’ or someone else?’’, ‘’Do I really believe all these things, for real?’’, ‘’Am I a replica of my parents or am I my own person?’’, ‘’Who am I living for?’’ And then it dawned on me to wonder, am I living in the shadows of someone else, have I created a shadow for myself, or am I my own being?
These are questions many people live with throughout their lives. And if these questions are left unanswered, a person would have robbed him/her-self of ‘a life’. As we get older and life throws us some experiences, bones, challenges and heart-breaks, pleasure and pain, we start to search ourselves and question our ‘make up’. Have you created a person in your head that you would love to be and that is the person you have projected to your friends, or are you really you? Are you a sweet, loving lesbian who needs to take revenge on men because you blame yourself for losing the one guy you really loved? Are you really so cold and withdrawn from everyone because your father left your family when you were 6 years old, or are you a fabulous guy who just needs to talk it out and forgive him?
In many cases, we find ourselves creating a persona in our heads of what we should be, what society expects of us, what ‘’gay’’ is, or what would please our parents and then we try to live our lives to meet this expectation [and rarely make it]. What would it take for us to wake up and smell the vodka on our breaths? What would it take for us to finally realize that maybe, just maybe we have been kidding ourselves in believing that we are who we are, and we have been walking in someone else’s shadow all this time? What would it take?
Well, for some people, it takes tons and tons of disappointments to finally show them that what they have been working all their lives for isn’t really what they want to do, but what their parents wanted to do and couldn’t do, and so they have to fulfill their parents’ dreams. For others, it’s a failed marriage or relationship to jolt them back to consciousness and point them to what they really want — a gay partner of course. For some, it’s a close friend who has been through the same eye-opening experiences and has come to their rescue before it’s too late. And there are the few of us who are strong and resilient enough to have identified our true self within ‘’our self’’ and have decided to be that individual instead of the one created by society; religion, church and indoctrination; influence of friends; family pressure and just life.
So, how do you know if you are living in the shadow of someone else? Well…
A) Are your hopes and dreams ‘’YOURS’’ or are they those created by your parents, society, religious beliefs, or the education system?
B) When you are driving and you catch a glimpse in your mirror, who do you see? Do you see ‘’YOU’’ the guy who is struggling with his sexuality and confidence and secretly dying to find a guy on www.gayromeo.com, or do you see a strong confident guy who loves himself and has family and friends who support him?
C) When you introduce yourself to someone do you show them your true side or do you show them your pseudo-persona in fear that the person won’t like you for you?
Deep down everybody wants to be themselves. It’s just something human beings want! We like individuality. But sometimes, on life’s crazy road we tend to lose ourselves and then we create pseudo-selves. But then, there comes a point where you start to think that, ‘’If I have created shadows for myself, then who am I meant to be and what are the reasons I’ve created these shadows in the first place, and how do I remove them and start living ‘freely’? … start being ME!’’