Hype

At the moment you meet someone, you start building a mental image of them.  I’m not talking about the very instant you see a given person.  I’m talking about when you start talking to them.  As soon as you care enough to remember the name.  You start with the name, and then you hang mannerisms and stories they tell you from that name like a mobile.  Or maybe it looks more like a web.  I don’t know.  We all visualize things differently.

At any rate, you build up this mannequin in your head that resembles the person and is constructed of everything you know about them.  Or, more accurately, everything you’re told about them.  The difference is worth noting, because I’ve met plenty of people who turned out to have a side to them that I would not have guessed existed.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with putting your best foot forward; I’m saying that for whatever reason, that thought didn’t occur to me for much of my adult life.

What’s my point?  I’m getting to it.

I know that people have built an image of me in their heads the same way I’ve done for them.  I do my best to remember that everything I think I know about someone is based solely on what I’ve seen so far.  Everyone keeps secrets.  Anyone who tells me otherwise is up to something.  I don’t begrudge them that; it’s natural.  Best foot forward, remember?  I do the same, but for whatever reason I can’t accept that my friends are suckered by what is for me an obvious con.

Every time I look in the mirror, I can’t help but wonder how I’ve got people so snowed.  They think that I’m a good guy, but I can’t seem to believe it.  I don’t feel like a good guy, so I must not be.  I do try to be a genuinely good person, but I don’t ever feel like it works.  I’m worried.  I’m worried that the image that everyone builds of me in their minds is as sturdy as a house of cards.  I’m worried that people will see me the way I see me.  I’m worried that I can’t live up to my own hype.

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