Sunday, March 25, 2007

Reflections in a pane of glass

  Link to Taking Steps: phone booths, ii: the green room.


Little Light is an experienced blogger. That is, she's come to a point where her blog is fairly well know and she's fairly well read -- at least, so it seems to me.

I'm new at all of this.  I learn fast the greater things, but the subtleties often slip by me at first. So I'm catching up on the subtleties.

Really new, to all of it.

I first encountered Little Light in a thread that I no longer recall how it came to me.  It was a comment thread on a feminist site.  I had been reading the blogs for about three weeks at the time, and was alternating between tossing them all aside or diving in wholeheartedly (and I've sorta settled for standing here and casually sorta nonchalantly waiting to see if I get noticed).

The comment thread had degenerated into a nasty, nasty flame war, and the subject of said flame war was TS folk. It hadn't started that way, but boy, did it devolve there.  Toss in women of color, and a few others, and it got nastier than nasty, and makes for a great image of the difference between the WASP-y types and then pretty much everyone else in social outlook and conceptualization.

Its pretty cool, on some levels, really, but, on a more personal one, its sadder than all get out.

It was around the same time that I had been reading a blog that made all the difference to me, personally, in the world.  I don't recall the name, and I lack the link, and I suspect that its no longer online (but for a programmer that lived in SF of Asian descent, I submit a huge thank you).  There was a commonality of sensation between them.

In any case, I began reading her, and then fell into the obsession with Topix, and stopped, and recently started again.

I didn't link to de profundis, although it made me weepy, because that wasn't something I can adequately respond to. I could, prolly, but, well, that's not a place I want to go -- its angry and ugly and I'm so very, very tired of angry and ugly.

Then I missed a cute little one, and then there is this one.

This caught my attention.


I'm not an actor.

I did enjoy it, and did it in the usual way, appearing in pretty much every single school anything as a kid in grade and high school. Even participated in debate as well, and did fairly well there. But as an actor, I sorta suck. Much better stage crew. 3rd string fill in on an empty theatre night -- a wanna be at best, an example of how not to be otherwise.

My problem,though, is that I'm a con artist.

Not in the sense that I do major stings or anything remotely resembling grifting, but in the sense that I've learned very well the things she talks about regarding creating something that *seems* real.

More real than real.

It served critically as the means by which I wove my little shell around myself, created the presence that I have for others. But, always, there is a sense of guilt and regret as I moved through life, because that same capability, that skill at conning, led itself to other areas, and , in my youth, I was nowhere near as principled as I am now.

Indeed, if I were characterize myself back then it would be as amoral.

Amoral and possessed of rage. Closed off from others. Hmm -- any wonder I have a terror of being a sociopath? Despite the fact I almost certainly am?

I know those senses of practicing, of blurring, of observing little details.  I pulled mine from images larger than life, directly. Films and books predominantly, taking chunks of those iconic figures and blending them together.

When you start to lie so often, so readily, so deeply, everything becomes a lie.  You learn about the secrets of lies, how to take 90% of the truth and 10% of something else -- and, for a con man, that's always from the mook, the target -- and make it seem real, even though, ultimately, it is as hollow as an empty promise.

You learn the value of packaging. Marketing. Salesmanship.

And I am told I am a great salesperson. I have difficulty believing it, because I don't do closes that well.  I do usually close, but it is *always* up to the person being sold to to make that final decision, and I never push.

Another bit of the con.

I developed a very distinct persona growing up. It was bracing -- one tends to either like me, or hate me.  Very little in between, and when there is, its also based on something about me that is intentionally memorable, something that is decidedly out of place, that distracts and fixes attention.

Something I pick for precisely that reason.

And like her carefully practiced role, I developed this persona, this shell of a person worn as armor around my body, forged by clothing and demeanor and this weird ability I have of sorta figuring things out about people by looking at them (the Internet is good that way -- I can rarely see those I talk with, so I don't have to deal with that, don't have to use it).

It was what they expected in part, and what they did not, in part -- but that was always something that was still within their grasp.

I wore glasses when I repaired computers for living. I had two pairs. One of them was literally held together by solder and wire and black tape. The other was fine.

Guess which ones I wore when dealing with customers as a geek.

And what did they always remember?

And every night I still wished. By my teens, I literally begged for the Devil to do it. Would have sold my soul.  In my 20's, it was begging, pleading, deal making -- just a few years, and then I can come back to this hell, or even one year, just one, just, please.

And I cried each morning as I put on my suit again. Letting it support me, letting it carry me through the day, a smiling and unpresuming person of no special interest that would almost always walk away with your money in his hands if you had it and he wanted it.  And you'd feel good.

While I felt dirty.

Not because of the con, though.  That's working or surviving and hey -- ultimately, everyone does that (I in turn would give that money to people who asked me for it -- groceries, gas, beggars, bystanders).

And now, oddly enough, I not only have to take away that armor, strip off that shell, and discard those hard fought for tricks and little bits that allowed me to avoid the nastiest of things.

I also have to find a way to jump through hoops of others' devising,  hoops that the "old" me could tackle with little more than a smile and an aside. Without running a con.

And then, from there, I get to start it all over again. Only this time, instead of the suit being too big, and too heavy, and too plastic, it will be genuine,


and organic.

And I'll still be running cons, just to survive...

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