Don Draper once said that people are living two lives. One life they are actually living and the other, they are secretly wishing. Considering what he said is just out of the script from the popular TV show Mad Men, we can’t really take it too seriously now, can we? Come to think about it though, Tiger Woods has proven that statement to be true. If that TV script wasn’t written before his affairs got out in the open, one would assume that it was based on him. More recently, Sandra Bullock’s husband has been outed as someone who has a secret fetish for tattooed ladettes while married to Ms Congeniality. These two are definitely poster boys for people who were living two lives!
Don’t get me wrong; what people do with their lives is none of my business. I am not one to judge their behind-closed-doors shenanigans. What I really find annoying are people who try to project an image of perfection but secretly live another, more carefree life. In that sense, don’t you think that Hugh Hefner is more true to who he is? It’s not that I agree with his lifestyle. The standard moral barometer, for one, would place him way off the mark. In fact, I personally think that his need for five wives can be likened to a need for a hole in the head. But at least he is not a hypocrite.
People who have secret lives obviously have a problem. There’s nothing wrong with getting some kind of high from living dangerously, but there’s something to be said when a person’s activities begin to hurt the people around him. People who get a kick out of lying to people who love them obviously have self-esteem problems. They have a facade which makes them look like angels or the perfect son, brother, husband or father but behind that, they are the complete opposite of the image they are trying to project to others.
So, ultimately, it is not the people who are being lied to that has a problem, it’s the people who are doing the lying that obviously have issues to resolve on their own. Maybe they get some kind of validation that they don’t get from their spouses or they may be just trapped in a situation that is beneficial to their finances and the secret life they truly want to live makes them complete. Who are they fooling though? Hasn’t anyone learned from the film Fatal Attraction? Secrets eventually come out, quite often with a bang. If not they haunt people for the rest of their lives. Thing is, people who live dangerously never get satisfied with just one affair or two — not until they get caught. And no amount of back patting will help these people find contentment or happiness unless they are willing to face or accept that they do have a situation they need to fix.
Consider then the Philippines’ very own King of comedy — Dolphy. Ever wondered how he managed to become a magnet for hot babes? Well, his ability to make people laugh pretty much made up for his looks — or lack of it. Forget wealth, if you can make other people see beyond their problems using your wit, you can get away with anything. After all, laughter is the best medicine. He’s definitely given out a lot of that medicine as he’s got quite a number of first-born children from an equal number of women who took it. I’ve come to realise that funny people are sometimes just masking their shortcomings or serious character flaws by being comical all the time. Isn’t that why they say that behind the facade, clowns or comedians can be the saddest people in the world? Think David Letterman and his indiscretions with his female staff. Hmmm…I might stick with serious people if that’s the case.
So what’s up with overweight people who are stereotyped (in many cases rightly so) as being loud and boisterous? Same principle, perhaps. I’m sure you know one or two of them. More often than not, they are most likely just trying to draw attention away from their bodies and masking their insecurities by being rowdy and making fun of themselves or other people. Likewise with people who buy big cars or anything supersized. They say that these people are just compensating for that something small or insignificant in their life. They delude themselves into thinking that by buying a big car or a “sport utility vehicle” (as the marketers would like us to believe monsters like Hummers are) would make them feel good about themselves. Unfortunately, buying something superficial will not solve or compensate for any psychological problems people have. Accepting flaws and shortcoming or working on them will.
Who else might be living a double life? How about presidential candidate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III? I personally think the guy is living two lives. Think about it. The guy grew up having two of the most popular political figures in the country as his parents — the late hero Ninoy Aquino and former president Cory Aquino. Those are two pairs of shoes that are very hard to fill. You can say that he is living in the shadow of his parents. Oh, I almost forgot, he is also living in the shadow of his famous youngest sister, hit entertainer Kris Aquino.
Try putting yourself in Noynoy Aquino’s shoes for a moment. Wouldn’t you feel trapped into entering politics even if you didn’t want to? Just because your parents were in politics, people around you keep handing to you political roles — even if you don’t want them, you can’t say no to them, what else can you do?
You can see the reluctance Noynoy carries with him in playing his role. First, staunch Aquinoist supporters had to beg him to run for the presidency. Second, he is averse to joining public debates or forums and even loses his cool when asked complicated questions by moderators or reporters. He always gives the impression that he would rather be somewhere else. I don’t blame him. I would be unhappy too if I had to do something I didn’t want to do. The poor guy, I wonder what other life he would rather live?
A person’s inability to do something else with their life or live the life they truly want depends on the person’s upbringing. More often than not, the person feels trapped in a situation he is in only because he feels that he has to please the people around him or he has to follow the norm. In Noynoy’s case, he feels he has to live up to the image of his own parents and fulfill the expectations that the people who surround him want him to perform even if it’s beyond his capacity or not in line with his personal wishes. Noynoy now must always put up a front to please everyone. He is trying to live an image of perfection for everybody else especially during the campaign period. Once in a while we see a glimpse of the true Noynoy when he cracks up and loses his cool at the slightest provocation.
While writing this it just dawned on me that the people around Noynoy did not even give him time to grieve. Immediately after his mother’s funeral, Aquino supporters pleaded with him to run for the highest job in the land even without consideration for his own personal needs.
I pity Noynoy Aquino. The people around him don’t seem to care about his personal life. A life outside of politics — a normal one — is a life most of us take for granted. And such a life is beyond Noynoy’s reach.
Perhaps it can be said that some people have to live two lives because they don’t have any control over their public life. They are not the master of their own domain. The only way to escape this situation is to be your own person. Be true and honest about your own capabilities, your strength and your weakness. Don’t try to be someone you are not because eventually other people will find you out.