The pretenders…

When I was a little girl I loved to play “Let’s Pretend.” I could be a doctor, a veterinarian, an astronaut, and a mommy all in one day. Kids are supposed to pretend, it is part of their job. As we grow older the pretending is supposed to stop or at the very least be hidden behind closed doors. If I went around pretending I was an astronaut now people would surely deem me crazy. So when we grow up do we stop pretending or do we learn to master the skill so well that people just can’t tell we are doing it? I can speak only for myself and I admit I am a pretender but my reasons have since changed from those of that pig-tailed little girl; pretending is a means of survival.

I pretend I am not exhausted every morning when I coax my kids out of bed, dress them, feed them, drive them to school, and send them on their merry way. On conference calls I pretend they have my undivided attention as I check my email and finish other tasks I have no time to complete.
I pretend to be amused when they casually refer to me as one of the guys and I pretend I am not more intelligent than half of my customers. When my husband comes home I pretend to be interested in his day even though I really don’t have the energy to be interested at all. As I shuffle the kids up for baths I pretend not to be elated that bedtime is almost at hand.

People pretend. At the grocery store the checkout clerk pretends to really care if I have a good day when I walk away from her register. The people waiting for my up front parking space pretend to be waiting patiently when in reality they are cussing at me under their breath. Those news anchors who report the news every night pretend to be shocked and saddened by the murder of yet another teen on the West side of Chicago. We pretend that broken hearts mend when we know damn well they just become less noticeable. We pretend things don’t hurt us as they flip our arses on end.

We pretend. We pretend. We pretend. I have to wonder what this world would be like if we all just stopped. Would chaos ensue? Or would we finally know what it felt like to be real?

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