1. The people I know from home meet the people I know from here and I become two different people at once. I code switch mid-sentence. I have spent the last two years speaking in a learned accent. Is my real voice a perfect mix of what I was given and what I have learned? Or am I only authentic at the moment of switch?
2. It takes me almost an hour to get dressed in the morning because I do not know who I am.
3. Sometimes people tell others that I am intimidating, other times those people reach across a table and ask me if something is wrong. I don’t know how both can happen. Sometimes I know they’re about to offer their hands and I do not change my expression. Maybe, this is a cruelty. Sometimes not switching is the performance.
4. I write a list of the things that have made me feel like a real person. Vomiting, sneezing, mangos. Being raped appears three times. Can I not be trusted with self control?
5. A friend tells me not to worry because everybody does this. We all change for the people we know and do not know. But do we all do it with such measure? Do we all bartar our vulnerability for attention?
6. I make a conscious effort to be honest and my professor tells me to pay attention. My lover asks what she did to made me sad. My friends beg me to stop ruining the party, to clean up the confetti and turn off the music.
7. Consider: Performance as survival. I perform my walk home at night.
Performance as kindness. To not perform would be to tell you everything.
Performance is deception but deception is value neutral. The truth has no value. I perform happiness and I am happy. I perform terror and my pulse performs too. Everyone is at least eight different people. (if everyone is duplicitous, is anyone? if you are always lying, can i get away with it too?)
Sophie Furlong Tighe studies Theatre at Trinity College Dublin. She was once a slam poet, a twice winner of Dublin’s Slam Sunday, and a finalist in the Grand Slam. Now she writes things on pages, and has work published or forthcoming in QA poetry and Boston Accent Lit among others. She is based in Dublin, Ireland and tweets @furtiso.