As she woke up in the morning, the stream of thoughts rushed back to her mind that she had been unable to put aside till its grip was loosened by the power of fatigue the previous night. Perhaps it remained in her subconscious mind and confronted her as soon as she was awake. “I am so sick of it all” she said to herself almost aloud. She was still thinking about the social gathering she had been a part of the night before. She had met a wide range of people with varying taste and opinions but what she found common in almost all of them was this disturbing element of pretense. Some, in an attempt to avoid any kind of criticism painstakingly tried to appear and behave how they thought others wanted them to. The more arrogant lot was busy in creating an image that they thought others will hold in awe. In both cases it was public opinion that dictated their actions.
She decided to spend the day by herself, away from everyone. Being alone was not what she could be particularly comfortable with for long periods of time but occasional solitude was something she usually cherished. It helped her contemplate and know more about her own self. Was she completely devoid of pretense while interacting with others? She realized such was not the case. But she argued with herself that this pretense is with people she shared a formal and not so intimate relationship with. “Since not everyone is mature enough to take me for what I am, it is almost necessary to give a slightly different image about myself to the society to live a comfortable life. But why should one be so bothered with a third person’s opinion?” But then, was she not affected by criticism and did any kind of praise showered on her never make her feel good? “Yes, it did. However, I did not pretend to be what I am not, to get praised or to avoid criticism”, She thought. Was it completely true in all cases? She did not probe any further and decided to conclude at this convenient note. And thus with arguments and counter arguments with herself, she sketched the acceptable boundaries of pretense for herself and for everyone else. What she failed to notice was the pretense that she carried with her own self to get self approval and sustain an acceptable image in her own eyes.