Sunday, December 8, 2013


I AM A FRAUD.  There, I’ve admitted it.  In my last blog entry I stated that I am just a street busker, and not one who is seeking a bigger stage.  With yet another week of minus 30 degree temperatures I am currently practicing for a bigger stage with my folk guitarist friend, Darren, of our newly formed band, PHANTOM TIDE. (We make our debut at BUSHWAKKERS, a local brew pub, March 5th in the New Year.) 

I AM A FRAUD. Such an admission is just another catharsis, of which I’ve experienced many times in my life.  Psychological theorists suggest that all of us continuously question our identity and self-worth.  We question the value our external selves and we question the value our internal selves.  We question our IQ; we question our public persona; we question the behaviors of our private selves.  At the core of our wild being may be a very different person than the one captured by our public audience and spectators hip.  When we are alone our imaginings are savage; whereas, when in a group they are cultivated.  Alone we are true; with others we are false, and yet, sometimes with others we are true and alone we are false.

I AM A FRAUD.  I am a professional counselor.  Once a month I’m formally drawn into a challenging debate with all the other counselors in a system.  The topics we discuss range from peculiar clients to public policies.  Like the other group members, I try to impress.  Am I really that literate critic that presents authority on practically all of the issues we address?

I AM A FRAUD.  I am a university professor. Once each week I’m formally drawn into challenging debates with the members of my Adolescent Psychology class (my current assignment).  Like the students in my class, I try to impress.  Are the stories that I tell of past clients and their experiences really true?

I AM A FRAUD.  I am a busker.  For sixty days each summer I mess my hair, don a tight white t-shirt (my Black Cat smokes tucked in my t-shirt sleeve), pull on my loosely faded jeans, flex my muscles, and strum my twelve-string and blow my harp on city street corners and downtown sidewalks. These chilly winter days I thrum in my warm living room.  Am I really that carefree, so windswept, and so footloose busker that I present myself to be?

I AM A FRAUD.  Though discussions around a room with seasoned counselors feels far different from discussions with third and fourth year Psychology students, most everyone present is there to please.  The group think amongst colleagues is oftentimes politically necessary; whereas, the group think amongst students, not so much.  Complying with the consensus of either is always simpler and expedient, far less complicated than standing firm and alone in rage. Knowing this, most times I go with the flow.  Even when busking … I usually go with the flow (of the crowds).

Generally speaking, people in the public eye tend to present their best selves.  Specifically speaking, people presenting privately to confidants are more prone to expressing their worst selves.
As our public bastion selves we are always the prisoners of our experience  Our behavior in public is typically constrained by convention and bound by chains of propriety. 

As our private selves we can more easily be the sum of our experiences.  Our behavior in private, as long as it’s legal and besmirching to no one, gives us freedom to do whatever we want.

We are all vessels of fragmented identities, most times sailing most smooth waters, sometimes sailing waters algid, sometimes frothy and burning.  Some of these identities are quite likeable; this is especially true of our public selves.  Some of our identities are well-defined, and this, too, is especially true of our public selves.  And some of our identities are desirable, and this, too, represents more in our public rather than private, selves.

Some of our identities are not so likeable; this is especially true of our private selves.  Some of these private identities are not so well-defined; in fact, they could be disgusting, yet not necessarily undesirable.

In public I am important.  I am an important counselor.  I am an important university prof.  I am a not-so-important busker.  In public I am nobby and namby-pamby.

And in private I am ordinary.  In private I can be naught(y) and be bandersnatch.  Who knows what I really do in my garret dark and drear on the sixth floor?  Right now whilst blogging I could be multitasking.  I could be drinking; I could be sexting; I could be picking my nose.  (I am blogging.  I don’t Wiener – I’m too Tony for that.  I’m not a dipsomaniac – except when I barbeque. I do not pick my nose … much.)

On my world stage I like to be baronial, I like to be cordial, and sometimes … I like to dally. Do I feel shame about my public self?  Not usually.  Do I feel shame about my private self?  Yes, sometimes. Need I feel shame to be healthy?  Yes.  Need I shame myself to be healthy?  Yes.

The more one becomes depleted the more one is likely to feel shame.  And getting depleted is always easy.  It is always easy to drink lots and do drugs lots and be socially inappropriate, especially when surrounded by those drinking lots and doing drugs lots and being socially inappropriate.  (Choose your friends, wisely.)

It is okay to be a fraud and present a false-self.  We are all olla podrida, multifaceted and complex.  We all have expectations, some low and some high.  It is okay for us to be at times, desirable, and at other times, undesirable.  It is okay to become at times disconnected.  It is okay to be disassociated. 

Fact:  We are gregarious creatures gifted with the abilities to become what we are supposed to become.  And whatever we are supposed to become is entirely up to each us, for we are accursed in the sense that we have to make choices.  What we present in public is oftentimes our false self.  What we present in private, too, is oftentimes, our false self.

Fact:  Only in slumber and in crises do we ever present our true self.

  • I've only one marcher in my Chaucerian Parade this week -- Myles.  Myles, a cadge busker, has been strummin' and singin' every day in front of the liquor store.  Myles is going to jail next week.  Myles is in crisis this Christmas season.  Busking these past weeks, Myles is not a fraud.



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