I used to be who I was not.

Ever since living in the Himalaya, I never had to pretend, never even occurred to me to pretend, like I had to pretend and pretend so much, when I lived in big cities—

—where I pretended to be someone from the city to start with, pretended to be modern and professional-looking, pretended to be nice all the time and failed frequently, pretended to be happy, pretended to like that life and the way it is lived, pretended to care and pretended to not, pretended to like what others liked, pretended to not get offended by what was offensive, pretended to be cool when something bothered my very soul, and with sleep crawling under my skin like a fever I pretended to be awake and alert, pretended to be an idea of a person than an actual person, pretended so much that often I couldn’t tell if I was pretending or being myself, pretended so much that in spite of my great efforts, I became pretentious, in my being and my thoughts, pretentious when in the public gaze, pretentious in my room alone, pretentious in my sleep.

(Instances of pretending highlighted in italics just because.)

February 8, 2022