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You are an Illusion


There’s a Japanese saying that says, “Everyone has three faces: the first face you show to the world, the second face you show to your close friends and your family, and the third face you never show anyone; it is the truest reflection of who you are.” 


Isn’t it weird that there are so many versions of yourself that exist in people’s minds? Some may see you as a reserved person who rarely speaks, while others might see you as someone who never stops talking. Some may view you as kind and caring, while others interpret you as cold and distant. Some may even see you as timid. The truth, however, is the “you” that people perceive is an illusion, a construct moulded by environmental influences. The genuine you resides beyond all of these perceptions, simply observing.


In the tale that unfolds, meet 5 different personas, each shaped by the unique perspectives of those who cross their paths. 



He beheld his own reflection in the mirror and readied himself for school. At school, he didn’t speak that much; he didn’t speak unless he was forced to. Nevertheless, he was a bright student. He never failed to score full marks on his exams, due to the fact that he always asked his teachers a lot of questions – discreetly, of course. On that particular day, he was to present in front of his new classmates. However, the presentation didn’t go well; he stuttered a lot and was shaking throughout the entire thing. At one point, he overheard his classmate mocking him, “Look, a disabled person!” The whole class laughed right afterwards. Disheartened, he went straight home, entered his room, and stood in front of the same mirror, saying, “You are a joke,” before ending his own life.



After a few contemplative minutes facing the mirror, he was finally ready to go out. He was to meet his old schoolmates at an ice cream shop called “Green Mango,” known for their delicious ice cream. After a warm welcome, they engaged in non-stop conversation for two hours, catching up on each other’s lives, but he’d felt like the main character then, the one who spoke the most while the others listened to him comfortably. “You have changed a lot,” said Miguel, his best friend. He didn’t say anything, and there was a short but awkward silence before he continued talking. After the reunion, he went home, entered his room and stood in front of the same mirror, saying, “You are still the same,” before killing himself.



Lost in the gaze of his own reflection for a while, he was finally ready to do a video call with his family. “How are you doing there?”, “Have you eaten well?”, “Do you need money?”, “How’s your studies?” Those were some of the questions they always asked him, and his replies were always, “Yes,” “Don’t worry,” “I’m doing well here.” Suddenly, his father said something to him that almost made him cry himself. “You are our joy and pride, son.” After the video call ended, he stood in front of the same mirror and said, “You are just a failure,” before ending his own life.



He lingered before the mirror and was finally ready to go to his match scheduled at 8 in the evening. After discussing their game plan and warming up, they got onto the court and were all ready for the match, except for him. He kept thinking about the terrible mistake he had made during the last match that caused his team to lose. “Don’t make the same mistake again,” whispered the captain to him, but of course, this time it was worse — he failed to score any points, which led to his benching. “Perhaps you should quit.” If the looks of his teammates could talk, that would be what they’d say. After the match ended, he pedalled home, and once again stood in front of the same mirror and said, “I hate you,” but this time Anyie saw The Introvert, The Extrovert, and The Pride standing behind him, awaiting his self-inflicted fate, which he embraced before succumbing to a restless sleep, destined to relive the tragic cycle the next day.



In our relentless pursuit of external approval, we obsess over others’ opinions of us. Yet the harsh truth is that they barely grasp the surface of who we are, a mere brushstroke on the canvas of our complexity.

Even if that were the case, they only apprehend a fraction of you, because “you can’t find the same person twice even in the same person.” 


The fact that nobody can fully know another person, not entirely, makes you a mere ‘illusion.’