For some people lying is easier than the truth- there are people who seem to be born with a seemingly effortless ability to fabricate reality. The ability to dream and create is celebrated. It entertains and enlightens us and gives us a temporary break away from the monotony of life. We suspend disbelief to be transported to a new world with technology of past or future , with characters that anger us or incite empathy. We enjoy the fruits of the vivid imaginations of others gleefully as well as expressing our own creations if we are so gifted. The ability to convey visions into tangible form is the very essence of art as we know it.
However, there are some people who cannot shut off the fantasy. There are people who are so troubled in their daily lives that not only design alternate beings and realities, they become the characters therein. Some do so consciously and fraudulently, but others do not. Such people cannot disconnect from their new universe or identity. Through insecurity or mental distress the imaginative individual crosses the line we have set out - living the lie, becoming enveloped in it , expanding and inventing new scenarios to fit their altered reality. The adopted self behaves just as if the person has existed all along - with the hopes and dreams, loves and hates, age, gender, and habits as the assumed persona.
The internet has become a one-stop shop for those desiring to change how they are perceived. There is a bounty of information to be accessed if one wants to become younger, older, prettier, or more intelligent than they really are. I am reminded of a time we found a photo of an Israeli murdered by a terrorist that was being used as a stock photo for a muslim dating site. The website seemed to have no idea - they just thought the image to be that of an attractive middle eastern man, which he was until he was blown to smithereens. Many people whose images are used to further the fantastical identity of others are clueless that someone has co-opted their image. In the majority of cases it is not malicious - the individual wants to pretend for a temporary period and becomes trapped in their new world by the demons he or she has created. Sometimes it will start out as a research assignment or the like, other times it is the product of psychological trauma. Whatever the reason, those who believe the carefully contrived facade feel cheated, distrustful, and shamed.
A person duped into believing a fantasy that was not voluntary may feel angry or despondent. Self-doubt, the "I should have noticed the signs" feelings will arise. Whatever emotions you may experience are all valid and you are open to question the person who you feel has played you for a fool. But you are not a weak or ridiculous person. Do keep in mind that you believed in someone real to you and that every positive experience was an is valid. Behind the artificial exists a very real human being who truly may have believed every single thing ever told to you or others. I'm not promoting absolution, but a modicum of understanding. Behind the image is someone who has so disassociated from the person in the mirror to the one on a flatscreen that he or she may not know how to escape . It is NOT your fault.
And for anyone caught in an alternate life, there is a way out. That is the simple acknowledgment of what is real and what should be confined to creative writing. People do reinvent themselves all of the time, but any improvement should not erase all of who you were. A person, deep down, will still remain true to him or herself. The tragedies and trials of daily life may seem either overwhelming or boring to your insecure self, but failing to reconcile those feelings can destroy your essence. You cannot grow as an individual by becoming someone else. And the life as another will not be as easy as it seems - even the wealthy and powerful get sick, deal with shitty diapers, and laugh, cry, and fart just as you do. Take stock in your life and enjoy the mundane and incredible equally. And if you are caught in the lie, admit it. People will be angry and hurt, you may lose friends, but it will become increasingly more painful with each day that the life you lead is not your own. Move on with the great person that you are for there are few persons who deserve to remain locked inside a fictional hardcover. People will like or dislike you based on your commonalities and differences, but it will always be authentic. You cannot lie and be true to yourself and those you hold dear.