I made a fatal mistake, sometime over the long and lazy days of winter break.

Somehow, in the midst of spending time with friends and my latest lover, I got used to being myself.

I knew it when they went quiet, when members of my mock trial team started edging away from me slowly, when I spoke and laughed from true happiness instead of in the polite manner that is expected of me.

I knew it when I found myself on the outside looking in, more than ever before, more than I could stand.

I got used to being myself, but it is not worth the price. When I go back there tonight, it will not be me that enters the room. It is not so hard to censor myself, to fall back into the old habits, the familiar patterns of speech, that are required of me.

And maybe if I draw the mask well enough, hide under J Crew clothing and Merle Norman makeup until there is nothing left of me, maybe the transgression will be forgiven.

Because it does no good to be myself if I cannot also be the person I need to be...