The Trap of Marketing a False Self

Humans long for unconditional love, but market a false self to get unconditional love. Hence, our true selves are neither known or loved. —Bruxy Cavey

I wear fake glasses. Let me explain…

About 18 years ago, I had LASIK surgery on my eyes. Since that time, I’ve pretty much had 20-20 vision. I don’t need glasses – not for reading, not for distance, not for vision.

But I started wearing fake glasses a while ago. They seemed like a nice decoration for my head (I’m bald, so there isn’t much else happening on my head). Glasses also frame in my eyes nicely—hiding the fact that I don’t really have eyebrows. And one more thing… glasses can make you look smarter.

So I wear fake glasses. Not all the time. I wear them on Sundays at church. I wear them when I’m dressed up and going out. Basically, I wear them once or twice a week. And the rest of the time there are no decorations on my head.

The funny thing about my fake glasses is: people who mostly only see me on Sunday don’t recognize me when they run into me and I’m NOT wearing my fake glasses. It’s almost as if they only know the “decorated” me, not the undecorated real me.

In a small way, this demonstrates the trap of marketing a false self. People see the image you project while failing to discover the real you.

And when people love, respect, or admire the projected you, the real you is quietly ignored.

Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann, while speaking on the book of Genesis, said, “The text names the midwives, but not Pharaoh. Because when you’ve seen one Pharaoh, you’ve seen them all.

Exodus chapter 1 names Shiphrah and Puah, two of the Hebrew midwives. In the same chapter, Pharaoh is mentioned, but not named. He is a caricature. A type. He’s the boss, a political leader, highly decorated… and not known personally.

In some ways, Pharaoh reminds me of the Wizard of Oz: a great and fearsome figure, unreachable, unknowable.

Do you know the Wizard of Oz’s real name?

It’s Oscar Diggs.

His full name is Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkle Emmannuel Abroise Diggs.

Apparently, he decided to go by his initials instead of his full name (who has 7 middle names anyway?). But when he saw it spelled out… OZPINHEAD – he noticed it spelled PINHEAD, so he shortened his initials to just his first name and first middle name: OZ.

Eventually, the story reveals that OZ is no wizard at all. Instead, he is a rather ordinary conman from Omaha, Nebraska who has been using a bunch of elaborate tricks and props to make himself seem “great and powerful.”

In the movie, Toto (Dorothy’s dog) pulls back the curtain, and the great and powerful Wizard of Oz is seen for who he really is. Oscar Diggs.

Thank God for Toto.

The Bruxy Cavey quote at the beginning of this post haunts me. Sometimes I find myself hiding behind the curtain (the projected image, the decorations, the fake glasses), wanting to be truly known but feeling too damn scared to pull back the curtain on my own. It’s as if I need Toto to come pull back the curtain for me.

Slowly, ever so slowly, I am coming to realize that the world doesn’t need another Pharaoh. Or another Wizard of Oz.

It feels kinda embarrassing to say this – but I believe it is true - the world needs me. Brian Dolleman. Undecorated. Out from behind the curtain. Honest, real, unimpressive, with a name and face and body attached… with all my flaws and quirks and deficiencies. 

And the world needs you. The real you.

Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face. As soon as one is aware of being somebody, to be watched and listened to with extra interest, input ceases, and the performer goes blind and deaf in his over-animation. —John Updike


I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

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