NOTE: The latest information indicates that Pete did not write this, but it was written by Charles C. Finn in 1966

Don't be fooled by me. Don't be fooled by the face I wear,
for I wear a mask. I wear a thousand masks.
Masks that I'm afraid to take off, and none of them are me.
Pretending is an art that's second nature with me,
but don't be fooled, for God's sake, don't be fooled.
I give you the impression I'm secure, within as well as without,
that confidence is my name and coolness my game,
that the water's calm and I'm in command, and that I need no-one,
but don't believe me. Please.
My surface may, seem smooth, but my surface is my mask,
my ever-varying and ever concealing mask.
Beneath dwells the real me in confusion, in fear,
in aloneness. But I hide this. I don't want anyone to know it.
I panic at the thought of my weakness and fear being exposed.
That's why I frantically create a mask to hide behind,
a nonchalant, sophisticated facade, to help me pretend,
to shield me from the glance that knows.
But such a glance is precisely my salvation,
My only salvation. And I know it.
That is, if it's followed by acceptance, if it's followed by love.
It's the only thing that can liberate me, from myself,
from the barriers that I so painstakingly erect.
It's the only thing that will assure me of what I can't assure myself,
that I'm really worth something.
But I don't tell you this, I don't dare. I'm afraid to.
I'm afraid your glance will not be followed by acceptance and love.
I'm afraid you'll think less of me, that you'll laugh,
and your laugh would kill me.
I'm afraid that deep down I'm nothing, that I'm no good,
and that you will see this and reject me.
So I play my game, my desperate pretending game,
with a facade of assurance without, and a trembling child within.
And so begins that parade of masks. And my life becomes a front.
I idly chatter to you in the suave tones of surface talk.
I tell you everything that's really nothing,
and nothing of what's everything, of what's
crying within me.
So when I'm going through my routine, do not be fooled by what I'm saying,
Please listen carefully and try to hear what I'm not saying,
what I'd like to be able to say, what for survival I need to say,
but, what I can't say.
I dislike hiding. Honestly. I dislike the superficial game I'm playing,
the superficial phony game. I'd really like to be genuine and spontaneous,
and me, but you've got to help me. You've got to hold out your hand,
even when that's the last thing I seem to want, or need.
Only you can wipe away from my eyes the blank stare of the breathing dead.
Only you can call me in to aliveness.
Each time you're kind, and gentle, and encouraging,
each time you try to understand, because you really care,
my heart begins to grow wings, very small wings,
very feeble wings, but wings.
With your sensitivity and sympathy, and your power of understanding,
you breathe life into me. I want you to know that.
I want you to know how important you are to me, how you can be a creator
of the person that is me, if you choose to. Please choose to.
You alone can break down the wall behind which I tremble,
you alone can remove my mask, you alone can release me from my shadow-world
of panic and uncertainty, from my lonely prison. So do not pass me by.
Please do not pass me by. It will not be easy for you.
A long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls.
The nearer you approach to me, the blinder I may strike back.
It's irrational, but despite what the books say about men, I am irrational.
I fight against the very thing that I cry out for.
But I am told that love is stronger than strong walls,
and in this lies my hope. My only hope.
Please try to beat down those walls, with firm hands, but gentle hands,
for a child is very sensitive.
Who am I, you wonder.
I am someone you know very well,
For I am every man you meet and,
I am every woman you meet.
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