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Lie to Myself, or Lie to the World?

My life is now too full of confusion
I thought that I'd know myself by now
The assumptions I've lived by are all an illusion
I don't know what to say, or even how.
I don't know what to do: should I
Lie to myself or lie to the world?

Lie to myself, or lie to the world?
Can I even comprehend what I would feel,
If into the open world, my thoughts were hurled
I have no idea if I could deal
But can I live under a delusion?
My life is now too full of confusion

Lie to myself, or lie to the world?
If I'm quiet, I'll feel all alone
But my feelings aren't ready to be unfurled
I want them to remain unknown
But I have to tell myself, anyhow
I thought that I'd know myself by now.

Lie to myself, or lie to the world?
The world is filled with prejudice
It's not like I'm from the underworld
Have I undergone a sudden metamorphosis?
Maybe I should let people maintain their delusions,
But the assumptions I've lived by are all illusions.

Lie to myself, or lie to the world?
I'm not sure of anything anymore
All I know is my head's in a whirl
Why didn't I realize this before?
It's obvious, why didn't I see it before now?
I don't know what to say, or even how.

I don't know what to say, or even how.
I guess I know myself better now
Still, this life is too full of confusion
The assumptions I've lived by are all an illusion
Lie to myself or lie to the world?
I don't know what to do. Should I?

--anonymous, Outspoken (the queer publication of the Claremont Colleges, Spring 2000

I wrote this poem as I was coming out to myself, and denying my self-denial. At the time, I wasn't ready to come out of the closet. It didn't take long for me to burst out once I'd given it some thought; I have difficulty being dishonest with people, and the time that I spent knowingly in the closet felt like I was living a lie. But that's another story...

By the time the poem was published, I was out of the closet enough not to be ashamed to put my name to it. I still published it anonymously, because it fits with the poem: in writing this poem I decide I was going to lie to the rest of the world and have a closeted existence. I felt the poem had more impact if when you first read it, you feel that this is still true.

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