Tuesday 18 May 2010


“Villagers thought he was gentle and kind until he hacked to death seven children.” That was how the man that recently went into a children’s school in China and committed mass murder was perceived. Sorry for the abrupt awakening, but isn’t this always the way. More proof that it is very difficult to truly know anyone. I’m sure Jeffrey Dahmer’s parents thought they knew him too. Boy was that a surprise, "we just thought he had a really big appetite and liked varied foods." You always read in the news, after the crime that those that new the criminal would've never guessed, "gosh, he was so kind, always helping me with my shopping bags." Well yeah, and when I’m smiling like a cherub, batting my eyelashes I seem like an angel too (my partner will gladly tell you I have a lot more in my emotional arsenal). The frightening part is that with some people you just don’t know.

My theory: people show you want they want to show you. Some are obviously better at this than others. In fact some are downright eerie in their ability to control what the public sees and what is truly deep inside, the whole Jekyll and Hyde syndrome. They spend a lifetime crafting a life on show deemed as normal or acceptable, hell even gracious and kind to the point where they are saving kittens in trees, only to go home, let their hair down and hack up the neighbor and his cat into a hundred different pieces. Sorry, I’m running dark today.

And of course on the flipside of this, there are those - thank god - who seem incapable of hiding what is inside of them– in today’s day and age I see this as a good thing. Let’s celebrate the bleeding hearts, or the emotionally monotone, gosh darn it, the rageaholics should be given a big fat hug and kiss. At least they’re putting it out there and not letting it fester. I’m telling you, we’re a lot safer with those that put it all on show. It is ironic however, that in society we treat this as a negative i.e. as if it connotes shallowness, ‘you know him, what you see is what you get.’ Well, I’d prefer that then, ‘holy hell I didn’t know THAT was in there!’  Deep is not necessarily a good thing people, in some cases deep is a big fat wooden chest of ugly!

The irony is that we’ve built and continue to support a whole industry around people who show one face to the world, and hide another one away at home. It’s called SHOW business. The whole point is for people to slip in and out of characters and leave their true selves at the door. And we applaud this mercurial transformation – maybe we should start arresting some of these people?! Maybe Brad Pitt is so confused as to who he really is, he is steps away from a shopping mall armed with a sawed off shot gun? Okay, highly unlikely, but his kid collecting wife is definitely suspicious.

Saying all this, I must admit, there is something quite liberating about reinvention, about being whomever you want to be at any given time; especially as society loves to put people in little boxes and keep them there. The rebel in me has of course always thought, well screw that! In high school I used to dress a different way almost every day. Some days I’d wear hippy flowered skirts, other days a metal concert T-shirt and ripped jeans, other days, the demure cardigan set. Some may have thought I had multiple personality disorder, hell maybe I did, but I just remember it as a girl not wanting to be pigeonholed to anyone way of being or thinking. If on a Monday I felt one way then darn it, I was going to follow it (I suppose, a typical fickle teenager me thinks.)

I’d like to think that for most of us, what is on show is real – the other option is just too terrifying – and what we hold back is a small percentage – those unattractive qualities or fleeting dark thoughts that are simply better kept to ourselves (or shared with a best friend who can handle such darkness – I’m talkin’ to you SC!). I mean, we don’t want to scare the neighbors with those lovely moments of irrational neurotic rage – ladies you know the ones. Then again, maybe I’m just a big fat cynic, and I think everyone has the capacity to go places even they don’t know about. We are steps removed from animals after all. Hell look at our history, some historical figures did things that make my hair stand on end, and I bet their parents were just as shocked ("but our little Adolph was so good with crayons?!") I suppose I’ll have to blame my paranoia on my preoccupation with Crime TV – the news definitely does NOT help matters either. After you watch so many Datelines about couples trying to off one another in the most spectacularly convoluted ways you start to wonder if you should be sleeping in the closet with a baseball bat…..

Honey, if I haven’t told you lately, I really love you!
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