‘Put your make up on. Get your nails done. Curl your hair. Run the extra mile. Keep it slim. So they like you. Do they like you?’

A friend asked me today if I see anything different in her. I said she had a different glow: her aura was vibrant. She blamed it on her new eye mascara.

And yet I pondered – why do we always have to hide our true self in order for people to appreciate us?

And yet I realized – what have I been also doing to myself?

In the past weeks I’ve been living in a world full of pretend. And it’s not fun at all.

Since I also recently broke up, I’ve been actively using dating apps in the last two weeks. And the more I use them, the more I fall into this art of pretend. This mobile generation of sex and flat abs is the reality for many and a booby trap for ordinary people like me who eat rejection day in and day out.

I try to lose weight in a sea of gods on Tinder. I wear my glasses to look mature; I wear my contact lenses to appear young. I wear a baseball cap; I hairspray my fringe twice. I try to be a geek, a drama king, a singer and a dancer, and do them all at once. I try to listen and converse. I try to be liked. I try to be a friend, try to find romance. I try to look cool, to belong. I try to over-think.

My attempts, however, remain futile.

I try to romanticize one-night stands. Almost dragged myself to some form of public humiliation and almost devalued myself and my self worth.

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That probably was my breaking point.

Who am I really? Do I still like the person I’m becoming? Where were my values and principles all along?

‘You don’t have to try so hard. You don’t have to bend until you break. You just have to get up, get up, get up. You don’t have to change a single thing.’

I woke up from a bad dream. From trying. From pretending. From unbecoming. And prepared myself not to fall back again.

‘Take your make-up off. Let your hair down. Take a breath. Look into the mirror, at yourself. Don’t you like you? Cause I like you.’