by Charles C. Finn
Please hear what I am not saying.
Don't be fooled by me.
Don't be fooled by the face I wear.
For I wear a thousand masks
that I'm afraid to take off,
And none of them are me!
Pretending is an art that's second nature with me.
Don't be fooled
I give the impression that I'm secure,
that all is sunny and unruffled with me.
Within as well as without,
Confidence is my name
Coolness is my game.
The water is calm and I'm in command.
I need no one.
Don't believe me
My surface may seem smooth,
but my surface is a mask.
Beneath this lies no complacence.
Beneath dwells the real me in confusion,
in fear and alone.
But I hide this; I don't want anyone to know it.
I panic at the thought of my weaknesses and
fears being exposed.
A nonchalant, sophisticated façade
to help me pretend
To shield me from the glance that knows.
such a glance could lead to my salvation
That is, if it is followed by acceptance,
if followed by love.
Love is that only thing that will assure me
of what I can't assure myself
I am worth something!
But I won't tell you this.
I don't dare.
I am afraid to.
Perhaps your glance will not be followed
by acceptance and love.
I'm afraid that you'd think less of me,
that you'd laugh at me.
would kill me.
I'm afraid that deep down I'm 'nothing',
that I'm 'no good'
So, I play my game, my desperate game.
With a façade of assurance without,
and a trembling child within,
My life is a parade of masks, a front.
I chatter to you in the swave tones of surface talk.
I tell you everything that is really nothing,
And nothing of what is really everything,
Nothing of what is crying within me.
So, do not be fooled by what I am saying.
Please listen carefully;
try to hear what I'm not saying,
What I'd like to be able to say,
what I need to say,
I do dislike the superficial,
phony game I'm playing.
I'd like to be genuine and spontaneously 'me',
but I need help.
Hold out your hand
even if it's the last thing I seem to want.
Each time you are kind,
and gentle, and encouraging,
Each time you try to understand
because you really care
My heart begins to grow wings,
Very small, feeble wings-
but wings that will one day help me to soar
on the wings of your encouragement.
You are so important to me.
You can help me to break down the wall
behind which I tremble.
You can help me to remove my mask.
You can help me to be released
from my shadowy world of panic,
uncertainty and loneliness.
It will not be easy for you,
My walls are strong,
But I am told that love is stronger than any wall.
Perhaps you could build a bridge to my heart
and Jesus could cross over into my life.
You may wonder who I am,
You know me well
I am every man and woman you meet.