Default Settings

Every one of us has a default setting. It’s who we are when the cameras stop rolling, when the barkers have gone home and the circus is all tucked in for the long, cold night. When no one is watching, and we are safe in our own little cocoons, that’s when our real selves emerge, a bit rumpled but no less for wear than when we shoved them down and told them to be quiet.

I imagine it’s like when the power goes out and we have to set all our circuitry up again. But while we’re blinking “12:00” what do we really show? Are we the same people we show to the world on a daily basis? Or are we more vulnerable, more likely to explode, more judgmental than the selves we show to others? But who we are when no one else is watching — that is our real self, so we should pay close attention.

I like to play Snoop Dogg and rap along. Yes, I know I’m a horrible rapper, but it’s what I do. I only do it, though, when I’m alone. It has nothing to do with thinking that I’ll be judged by others, or with keeping the lyrics away from my young children. It’s embarrassing. I’ll admit that to you right now. I love the music, but it’s embarrassing the words that are often said. But I have absolutely no problem when I’m alone repeating them, screaming them at the top of my lungs and smiling at the same time.

When I’m alone I do many things that I wouldn’t when in front of others. You might not even recognize me if you snuck up on me unaware when I’m alone. I wear many masks — most for perceived protection — that aren’t often off, for fear that others won’t like what they see. I recognize them now for what they are, but I still can’t seem to get rid of them, to place them in a box and put the lid on tightly.

Maybe I shouldn’t.

Sam

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