“I’m a goner
Somebody catch my breath
I wanna be known by you”
– TWENTY ØNE PILØTS, Goner
It’s a peculiar thing to have some strangers on the internet know you better than anyone else in your life. To have someone you don’t even know read your most intimate thoughts, your deepest and darkest fears, is just bizarre. The strangest thing about the whole arrangement is that it isn’t strange, and it feels like it should be. I mean, that’s got to say something about my intimacy issues, for one thing. If I can’t trust the people I know, the people I care about with this information, then why am I so eagerly tossing these very personal facts like scraps of meat to an online audience?
There’s definitely the factor of anonymity, of course. Under my pseudonym, The Modern Leper can rant on about his life without ever being discovered by someone he knows in the so-called “real world” (knock on wood). I mean, there’s also the fact that I’m not really being discovered by much of anyone, but that’s besides the point. So long as I’m careful, no one reading this blog will ever be able to connect these ugly words to this ugly face.
But this raises the question: what is it to know someone? Who really knows me better, if at all? Is it my readers, who know my most intimate and personal thoughts but wouldn’t be able to pick my face out of a crowd? Or is it my family, who think they know me, who know me on the surface, but will never read these words? Do any of them really know me at all? Can anyone ever truly know anyone as a whole, or do relationships only ever deal in fragments of familiarity, pieces of personality, and incoherent identities?
I don’t really have the answers to any of these questions, but I suspect no one does. Maybe you just let people in as best you can, and let them do the rest. There’s only so much you can tell someone before you hit a wall, and it’s up to them to break down that wall and show you that they care enough to go further. But even then some things never feel quite right leaving your lips, and some secrets stay hidden forever.
But maybe that’s okay. Maybe the only person that should ever really know you is you. Your secrets are part of who you are, and to expose yourself fully and completely to anyone and everyone would be to give up your identity and originality. Life would be no fun if there were no surprises. People wouldn’t be interesting if you could predict their every move and thought. And maybe that’s why we give ourselves up in doses, reveal our secrets in portions. We don’t want to give up that sense of self. And in some cases, mine included, we fear how they will look at us if we do.
I’m still figuring out who I am, and I’m not sure I want to take anyone else along for that ride. At least, not completely. We can make a few pit stops together, and my family will always be there when I need them, but at the end of the day this is a road for one.