Versions

Versions

Spotlight. ONE sits in spotlight. Head down. Looks up.

ONE
How are you today?

Pause

 Who are you?

Pause

We’re never the same person all the time. That’s the biggest and most inconsequential lie we tell ourselves. That we’re always the same, and situations change. But it can’t be because… well… when you think about it, it just can’t be true.

The face you look at in the mirror – did you look in the mirror today? I did. I looked and looked and prodded and stretched and blinked at myself in the mirror. I didn’t look any different. But we’re not brains looking out of holes in our faces. We’re bodies. We’re humans. That pain in your arm isn’t something you’re experiencing – it’s you. It’s who you are. You are the pain, just as much as you’re the nervous conductivity in your brain. Just as much as you are the sharp, cold winter’s air sucked in through the lungs. Just as much as you are the muscle extending, and the skin absorbing, and the pancreas releasing. It’s all you.

But not the you that you really think is you. Some sort of projected idea of what you really are. Who’s that then? That’s you, as well, I suppose. But not really. And that’s why we can’t be the same person all the time. Because the person who looks out from the brain through the eyes isn’t the person inside. It’s the face we present to the world, that wears the same faces as every other version of ourselves. Versions of ourselves. There’s the key. We only ever present a version of ourselves. There’s the version for work, and the version for friends. Different ones for different friends. Different ones for different ends. There’s the summer-time-is-here face and the I-hate-the-rain face. Those two are quite similar.

There’s a different face for a different time. A different you. A you that’s all the things you are that go towards doing whatever it is you’re doing. I wish there was an eloquent me to explain all this, but there’s not. Sorry. Or maybe there is and I’ve forgotten. That’s the problem, you know, with knowing all these things aren’t really real, aren’t really us, aren’t really me. Because we ignore that fact and think we’re us all the time. So if you know, and truly take control of the fact that you aren’t you all the time, what then? Where do you go? How do you relate to a world full of people whose faces aren’t all they are?

Well.

I don’t know. It’s coping you see. We can’t cope with too much information – it makes us want to scream or punch or kick, bite, fight or flight…or go and lie down for a bit with a severe headache. But we can’t cope with too much of ourselves either. We can’t contend knowing what we felt about our auntie’s birthday – where we felt anything at all – and knowing what we should be doing at work, and pretending all the people we talk to at work are friends, even though you never see them outside of work. It’s all so much. And then there’s all the memory you ever kept, all the memories of things done, and things left unsaid, and the memories of memories you wished there’d been and wasn’t. The times you kissed him or her or them, all in your mind. Fantasies, wholesome and masturbatory. Everything. You can’t remember everything all at once. So you reach for a bit of yourself – a frontage to the true chaos of the inner workings of the person – and you present it at different times. And all the while you pretend it’s you. You pretend that you’re consistent. It’s everybody else that changes. But it’s not. It’s everybody else that changes, and so do you.

And me. I change all the time. I’m changeable. I’m two faced. I’m three faced. I’m a liar, a cheat and scoundrel. I’m the best friend in the world, and the mistake she knew she’d make. I don’t have to work hard to get by in life, but the hard work is a struggle. I loathe routine, and get up around twelve every day. I’m a rebel, a saint and the lyrics to a thousand and one other songs that I know inside out, back to front, and I hate all that other music, because it doesn’t sound like the sort of music that the sort of me would listen to. And what does all that mean, anyway?

These are the faces we present to the world. The versions of ourselves. So how are you? And who are you today?

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  1. […] may remember that a while ago, I posted a short stage piece, here, called Versions, which waxed intellectual (or, at least, mused) on the concept that we are different people, […]



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