Method Acting

I wear my costume

(button-down shirt

khaki pants,

knock-off Sperrys).

I learn my lines

(the vagaries of adult parlance,

the crude jargon of my peers,

the neatly trimmed Twitter posts)

Every day at school

I perfect my blocking,

knowing the minutes and seconds

between each class.

It took a while to memorize my part

stumbling over lines,

missing entrances

and exits, but

as the years drug on

I mastered my craft

and perfectly played the character

of my angst-filled self.

I became

a method actor of sorts,

so engrossed in my work

I forgot I was but a performer

and lost track of my true self.

I took off my mask

only in times of intense weakness

(a lost lover or an ill-fated friendship)

or acute strength.

People fell in love

with “Brett”

but never knew the me I saw before bed each night

(vulnerable and enthusiastic,

a book fanatic,

a superfan of StarTrek/C-Span/SonicScrewdrivers/SantaClaraVanguard)

As the years wore on, I kept the mask in place

for weeks, then months

never wavering, never faltering

never letting the curtain close,

safer somehow in my 24/7 performance

until finally diplomas were handed out and I stepped across the stage.

Then the glare of the house lights found me

naked and alone,

waiting for an ovation that will never come

until I embrace my authentic self.


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