You Are Who You Pretend To Be Essay example

You Are Who You Pretend To Be Essay example

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I recently was introduced to a Kurt Vonnegut quote by a friend. It was mentioned only in passing and was likely meant only to carry the conversation on, but I have come back to it many times in my thoughts. The quotation was a warning: “Be careful who you pretend to be because you are who you pretend to be”. The truth behind this sentiment is far more pertinent to our lives than we might like to think. We all have visions of who we are based on what we know, how we compare ourselves to others, and how we attempt to act, but the actuality of who we are exists independently of that personal ideal. The truth of the matter is that, regardless of our apparent individuality, the way we act around others, how we dress and talk, and our general influence on others is the strongest indicator of who we are. The idea that we can exist as one person in private and construe ourselves as something different among society is simply fallacious. If I go about drinking and making a fool of myself and return home to read Proust and Percy, then what’s to say that I am anything more than the fool I was making myself out to be.
Identity is truly a challenging concept to grasp. It is something which we formulate ourselves but must leave up to others to interpret. Many of the commonalities of our lives are constructed merely to make the impression of a certain identity. The clothes we wear, the cars we drive, even the way we talk is designed to construct an image of ourselves in the minds of others. Yet for all of this, there is no certainty that our actions will be received as we would wish. The only certainty is that our interactions govern both others perceptions of who we are and our own internalized ideal of who we wish to be.
It would seem, t...

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...However, it is well documented that some of Franklin’s hobbies were less than morally justified. He was a womanizer and liked to drink, but these actions do not eclipse the greater worth of who he was. Here, Franklin is an ideal example of identity’s basis in public interactions as opposed to private affectations.
The reality of the matter is simply this: no matter how we wish that we might exemplify our personal ideal, we are still bound to our identity through others perceptions of our actions. Whether we wish to be loved, laughed with, or paid well, we must truly live the characters which we develop in order to be given the title of endeared, joker, or tycoon. There is no middle ground in this internal struggle between actions and ideals; there is only choice. We must decide what we intend to be and live accordingly, for only then do we cease to be pretenders.

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