Opinion: Confessions of a phony

Christina Bucciere

Christina Bucciere

Christina Bucciere is a junior journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

For most of my life, I was a mess of contradictions, always changing my personality to fit the circumstances. If I needed to pretend to like something I actually hated, no problem. If I needed to fake more self-confidence than I could actually muster in order to do something uncomfortable, I could do that, too.

Fitting in was the goal, and I made it happen, even if it didn’t feel quite right. There was a part of me that told myself it was OK to be me — that true friends wouldn’t want me to change — but I was a classic case of not practicing what I preached.

In middle school, and even high school, it’s difficult to be authentic when you’re still trying to figure out who you really are, so you try on different masks, even when you know they don’t fit. Even as I graduated high school, began my college career and started to see myself more clearly, I still played this game. I forced myself to be more outgoing than I really am or to dismiss something I really cared about, depending on whom I was talking to.

This game all came to an abrupt and rather painful halt about two years ago when I contracted a nasty bout of bacterial meningitis that left me a few pieces short of the puzzle. With both legs missing below my knees and all ten fingertips gone, there’s no hiding who I am on the outside.

I can’t possibly hide my hands from the world, especially with my tendency to make sweeping hand gestures when I talk. Even in the colder months when I have to wear pants, it’s probably shocking for people to see that when I sit down and my pant legs come up, where there is supposed to be flesh, there are metal rods protruding from my hemline. It’s impossible to pretend I’m not an amputee, and now I even welcome the curious stares.

Since I have become so comfortable with my outward appearance, it left me wondering why I still try to alter the inside — the stuff that really matters. So I’ve been choosing to let it all go — all the inhibition, insecurity and dwelling on what I can’t change. I am who I am. Take it or leave it. To prove to you I mean what I say, I am going to make some confessions about things I may have lied about in the past to fit certain parameters.

First, to the guy from freshman year whom I told I play “Call of Duty”: I lied. The only video game I’ve ever played is a SpongeBob one, and I plan on keeping it that way. Sorry, dude.

Second, I not only read all of the “Twilight” books, but I liked them, too. There, I said it. It might not have been my most dignified choice of literary fiction but a supernatural, forbidden love triangle? Yeah, that’s entertaining. Sue me.

Third, to the group of friends whom I went to Cedar Point with that one time: The only “big” roller coaster I had ever been on was the Raptor when I was 10. I was shaking like a leaf on the inside all day. Thankfully, all turned out well, and now I am a Dragster addict, but I was genuinely freaking out the majority of the time.

Finally, I am a total cat person. I know it’s cooler to be a dog person — and don’t get me wrong, I love dogs — but cats are little judgmental fur balls, and I love it.

So there you have it. I tried to be different versions of myself to impress people, but those shoes were just two sizes too small. Choosing to make no apologies for being my genuine self has made me feel lighter and more confident than ever before, so I encourage you to make your own confessions. Purge the moments of dishonesty and reap the rewards. Holden Caulfield would be proud.