“I’m trying to help you, I said.
“How exactly are you trying to help me?
“I had no answer to his question. I confess that I do not know what brought me to make my confession to him. Or, rather, I did not know then, but perhaps I do now. I had worn my mask for so long, and here was my opportunity to take it off, safely. I had stumbled to this action instinctively, out of a feeling that was not unique to me. I cannot be the only one who believes that if others just saw who I really was, then I would be understood and, perhaps, loved. But what would happen if one took off the mask and the other saw one not with love but with horror, disgust, and anger? What if the self that one exposes is as unpleasing to others as the mask, or even worse?”
—Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer