Hercules’ tunic was stuck to his skin. He couldn’t get it off without tearing away his skin. What an apt analogy for one whose persona/mask has become that of one who is living exclusively against the background of his or her biography! While there are poseurs among punk, heavy metal, goth and hip hop subcultures, your neighbor may be a poseur, or maybe even you. Who has not at times been inauthentic, faux, pretentious, a wannabe with few if any street creds. Okay, you need a certain social face for the world, but how easily this can conceal your true nature and meld itself to you!
Very likely, you eventually experience what Carl Jung called enantrocromia. The opposite of who you have been posing as emerges and Ouch! You become acutely aware that you are a fake. (Others have known it much longer than you.) You might try to patch up the “costume” you have been wearing, but that constitutes what Jung called regressive restoration. You might try to endure the psychic equilibrium forever poised in a painful pose as if waiting for a flashbulb to go off. Think of Little Jack Horner sitting in the corner eating his Christmas pie. He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum and said, “what a good boy am I.” He has not moved from that corner in eons.
Recovery requires you to create a more viable persona. Who are you really and what do you want the world to see of you? Think of a young pastor, for example. While he parades around being a saint, his wife becomes progressively more and more neurotic as his persona becomes progressively more brittle. His life becomes for him a civil war within. He needs humility enough to know he knows almost nothing about life and death. Heaven help him if his clerical collar sticks to his stiff neck. Then one day he makes a flip flop (enantrocromia) and becomes a letch or a criminal or a drug addict.
Then consider the intellectual theatrics of the run-of-the-mill professor. Who might he or she be without that mortarboard stuck to the head? Why, a doofus, of course. And, like a puppy that just can’t help itself and is lovable because of it, everyone loves a doofus. Here’s to all the imperfect and real people in the world! Hooray!