Maybe I was naïve. All of us wear costumes. Who was I to think I could be different, that I, among billions, could be one of the few who are truly free?

And yet. The longing. The unrelenting, immeasurable hunger to be known. To be seen. And being known, being seen, to at last – dare I say it? – be chosen.

How utterly, pitifully ridiculous. And how deeply, dangerously irresistible.

If I could just resign myself to the pretension. Smile and the world smiles with you. Cry and you cry alone. There’s a reason that’s a cliché. Shine, dammit. Nobody wants your shadows.

But I have them. Secret shadows, hiding in the pockets of my brightly colored clothes. And they are as much a part of me as the laughter and the vitality that are deserving of love. A hidden, protected, wounded part. Frightened and undeserving, but needy of love.

I have risked those shadows. Tried to expose them and  hoped someone could bear the sight. Desperately trusted that I, the whole me, could at last be truly not alone.

And yet I still am. Alone and unseen, in plain sight. Beside you.

Maybe I was naïve.

And yet – the longing.



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