My vanity is a charade

You’re so vain.

No….

I’m so vain and self-absorbed.

Why?

Because that old voice in my head tells me I am not good enough.

Those rusting bells ringing in my skull chime loudly that I will never be the man I was meant to be and that I will always fall over right before the winning post.

I AM a failure!

So, I pull faces.

And hold my breath and stick out my chest.

Pounce.

Prance.

Punce.

Strut.

Joke and giggle.

All to distract….

YOU!

Because if you saw the real me you would gasp and turn your back and walk away.

You see, I am not worthy.

And if I make enough noise or ring enough bells you won’t hear me.

If I wear a mask or hide behind trinkets and baubles you won’t see me.

I will be invisible.

So, my vanity is a charade.

I’m not saying ‘Look at me!’

Actually, I’m asking you to look away.

Be on your way.

I do not want you to enter my orbit.

I am not a star.

Far from it.

I’m an ancient old lunar rock spinning into the abyss.

And the far, dark reaches of space can be so more comforting for me because I can be standing in a room, surrounded by dozens of laughing, happy people and feel coldly alone.

I just want to put on the Dunce hat and crawl into a corner and pick at the knots on my jumper so I don’t have to look into your eyes.

I have many tricks to distract you and make me seem so busy.

So important.

“Is that the time?”

I must be on my way.

I have nowhere to go.

“Look at those clouds outside.’

The rain is coming and I’ve forgot my umbrella.

My car boot is full of unused umbrellas.

“Is that my mobile beeping?”

I’m waiting on news you see…

Good news dried up long ago.

How can I be everything to everyone when I cannot be anything to myself?

So the pantomime continues and the juggling becomes more outrageous.

And every so often when no one is looking and the applause is for someone more worthy.

More talented.

Brighter.

Bigger.

Bolder.

A child smiles at me.

Or my wife tells me that I am a good, good man.

Or I receive a birthday card from my sons and they write that I am an absolute blessing and an amazing father.

Or a recovering addict tells me I am an inspiration.

And my breath catches and a sob starts welling deep in my gut.

And all the bullshit and bravado drops away.

And I catch my shadow in a mirror.

And the man looking back quietly smiles and nods, and he lets go of the hand of the shy, awkward little boy and whispers;

“It’s going to be ok”

That boy is me…..

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