All of my family and close friends know me as William, but everyone who knows me strictly through my music know me as Mirage. Recently I decided to drop the name and Mirage ‘Persona’ after nearly 10 years of using it.
I first started using the name Mirage when I was about 18 years old. At the time, I was still living at home and my family was very traditional and conservative which is pretty much how I was raised. The older members of my family didn’t really support me as a young gay man (and they DEFINITELY didn’t condone me wearing makeup or being flamboyant in any way). This resulted in me sort of having a bit of an identity crisis. I did not feel like I was allowed to be who I really felt I was on the inside.
So it was around this time that I started going out to gay clubs and hanging out with a different set of friends. Because of the fact that I WAS 18 and had my own car, my family didn’t really have a say in where I went or who I hung out with; Only what I did and how I behaved under their roof. So in the house I would be one way, but if I was going out with friends I would always take a huge bag with me filled with makeup and the kind of clothes that I wanted to wear.
Who I was when I left the house was a totally different person, and so naturally I decided that this person needed a totally different name. I decided to call myself Mirage based on a few different factors. I first got the idea after hearing that it was the nickname of my favorite singer, Mariah Carey, given to her by classmates because she was never in school. Then one day I looked up the origin of the word which read:
I thought that was so dope and from then on out I became ‘Mirage.’
Over the years, though, I think I began to hide behind the Mirage persona. Going out with friends, if I got a little too drunk and did something to embarrass myself I could just say “It wasn’t me, it was Mirage!” I think the fact that in the beginning I used the persona as a means to escape who I felt I had to be somehow translated to me feeling that William, who I really am, just wasn’t enough.
However, as people mature and get older, I think we start to care less and less about the things that may make us feel imperfect through the eyes of another and, yes, even ourselves. Instead we see what a waste of time that is and begin to focus on more important attributes: do I think I’m a good person? Am I happy? Do I surround myself with people who I really care about and who care about me in return?
Well, once I started focusing on what was really important to me, I began to get to know myself really and it turns out I actually like the real me. I don’t feel the need to hide behind a persona. I’m not saying Mirage was a mistake…because it really did help when I was younger. It’s just that when I look back I see that I was just pretending. The real thing is so much better.