He knows he’s self-loathing, because of the secrets he keeps. He’s timid and angry and he holds himself back. He works in isolation and broods. The only time he sleeps is when he shouldn’t, when he should be productive and industrious. But he counts it as sleep, nonetheless. He avoids his reflection. He hides his old writing. He keeps old photos and other mementos locked away, because those memories wouldn’t recognize him. Or at least what’s rotted inside of him.

He can see why his friends don’t hate him as much as he hates himself. He’s good at one thing. He’s good at façades. He keeps up appearances. He knows how to look happy; even more important, he knows how to look believable. His friends like being around him. They call him the “good idea maker,”  which came from what he wanted to do at certain instants more than anything inspired.

On the other hand, he’s had quite a few bad ideas which came from what he wanted to do at certain instants. Spontaneously. He’s followed through with them. He’s told no one, but he feels like everybody knows. Or should know. Or expects to know. It weighs him down.

They call him “all ears,” too, because he’s an exceptional listener. They say it’s part of what makes him a good friend. He’s privy to confessions and details. Other people’s secrets. He shares none. Instead he assures with nods and validations. Pats on the back and comforting hugs. Smiles and sympathies.

His darkness is a tar of drama and shame and disappointment. With every bad idea and concealment he sinks deeper into this cauldron of black bubbles.

As long as he can separate what he hates from what others love, he can continue to smile and laugh and encourage and support. He can be a mirror for potential. He can reflect others’ light in lieu of having to emit his own. He invents his cheer, and he tells people what they want to hear. When others ask what he wants, he always tells them “nothing.” He’s fine, he says. He’s doing great, he says.

But what he wants is one of his biggest secrets. What his friends don’t know and what he won’t tell them is that he wants them to hate him, too.

A little discussion.

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