Tuesday, 26 July 2011

What does it mean to pretend? [July 24, 2011]

I was just lying in my bed, thinking firstly that I should be sleeping since I have uni early tomorrow haha. But then secondly, thinking about what it means to pretend. How exactly does it differ from lying, or being fake? Is it possible to pretend without losing sincerity, or coming across as unreal? I think people who pretend are usually hiding behind their fear of being discovered - whether it's their flaws, or their good points that they're trying to hide. For whatever reason, pretending seems different to being fake - being fake almost implies you know who you are but you're content with others seeing a surface-value side to you, whereas pretending seems like you hate who you are and you're trying desperately to show others that you're exactly the opposite to that.

I looked up the definition of fake. As an adjective, it's described as 'having a false or misleading appearance; fraudulent'. And as a verb it's recognised as 'to contrive and present as genuine; counterfeit or to simulate; feign'. I then looked up pretend, and it was described as 'to give a false appearance of; feign' as well, but also as 'to make believe'. It kinda makes me wonder at the significance of the two words, and how they can both be so similar, yet so different.

What stops you from being a fake person if you pretend to be other than what you are? If your imagination stretches to the point that you make believe you're someone else, do you become someone else, or are you just a misled version of yourself? If being fake also means to present as genuine, isn't that essentially feigning an appearance foreign to your own?

My head spins a little when I think about it, because I wonder - is it possible to unknowingly pretend to be somebody else? To adopt qualities that you think others desire of you, but do so without meaning to? I presume it is, otherwise there'd be no such thing as peer pressure. Even when looking at the Johari window [I've popped it below in case you haven't heard of it!] I sometimes wonder at its accuracy, how things remain hidden about yourself to yourself, but where others see it in you. Isn't that just pretending in it's strongest form? I don't know. But I do like how we are something of a mystery to ourselves, whether by choice or chance. If we are to pretend, maybe it can be for a good purpose, rather than to disguise ourselves in the hopes others will love the disguise, rather than the real us underneath. And if we are to be fake, maybe it could be to comfort rather than patronise, or to act in a play rather than act in real life.

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