Why live one life when you can live two? Leading two completely separate lives can be risky and psychologically challenging, but it sure keeps things interesting. Just take it from these people, whose double lives allow them to enjoy the best of both worlds.
1. Alive At Night
In high school, I was the quiet, nerdy guy—glasses, shaggy hair, always had a book in my hands, the works. But when I went home, I'd flip my entire life completely upside-down. No one would suspect a thing. I would change clothes, put in contacts, grab my equipment, and prepare myself for a long night ahead. My secret?
I was one of the major players in the DJ scene where I lived. It was at the point I would run into people from school and they wouldn't recognize me. Both were my REAL life, and both were who I REALLY loved to be, each in their respective venues.
2. Under The Radar
I lived a seemingly normal life in Florida. I traveled a lot for work, so it wasn't uncommon for me to vanish for a few days at a time. Everybody thought I was just another Average Joe who worked a lot of overtime. In reality, I was hiding a second life. What no one knew was that I was actually delivering several bales of some VERY potent (and unlawful) product up to Philadelphia, DC, Baltimore, and New York.
I did it once on a whim and got addicted to the rush and the money. Over the span of three years, I made 27 round trips and never once dealt with the authorities. I drove a nondescript Chevy Cavalier that I put patriotic bumper stickers on, I kept my hair short and face shaved, I wore polo shirts and Dockers, and I never ever exceeded the speed limit.
I looked like the thousands of other young professionals headed to work, so I never gave patrol officers a reason to profile me. I was the last kind of person they were looking to pull over. I'd go to the arranged meeting place, receive a brown paper bag with cash in it, then leave my car unlocked and grab a burger or just walk around Walmart for an hour or so. When I'd come back, the bales and the people who took them were long gone.
Since I couldn't keep depositing large amounts of cash in my bank, I'd have thousands of dollars in fake soup cans in my pantry and in my sock drawer. Since no one knew how much I made from my legitimate job, I was able to spend freely. I had every game console and movie I wanted. All was going well with my side hustle until I met the woman I eventually married.
I just couldn't keep up the ruse. Heading out of town at a moment's notice was no longer an option, so I dropped it. It took some time getting used to being frugal again and not eating steak for dinner three times a week. Only two people know what I used to do, but I'm not worried about them talking. One has been charged with perjury before, so his word isn't worth anything to the authorities, and I have so much dirt on the other guy that I could get him sent to prison for a long time if he ever crossed me.
3. String Of Lies
I failed out of college when I was 18, then went back when I turned 22. I was one semester short of graduating when I failed out again. I didn't really want to tell my family and friends that I screwed up twice, so I continued my last semester as though everything was great. They bought it, so now that I had a "degree," I started searching for jobs like any normal college graduate.
With all the lies I've been telling, I wanted my resume to be the one thing in my life that bore any truth, so I decided to apply to jobs without listing my college education. Obviously, I couldn't land any interviews that way, and since I had already been applying for months, I decided to lie to my parents yet again to ease their worries.
So I made up a job, and I went to it every morning...because why shouldn't a smart, hardworking, COLLEGE-EDUCATED young man not have a job, right?! I was able to sustain the lies for quite some time, but it all eventually came falling down on me. Here's how I got caught: I would drive my mom's old car to get to "work" and one morning, she stopped me to remind me of something.
I had told my parents months ago that my "job" required me to wear khakis and a button-down shirt, so I wore that every morning...until I started getting too comfortable with my pretend situation. So, things went south fairly quickly when she found me in my gym shorts and an old basketball T-shirt. That's when I basically broke down and confessed to my mom at 6 am in the middle of the driveway.
So began the long road of guilt, shame, and self-loathing. Other than losing the trust of those closest to me, the weight of the world has been lifted from my mind. Thankfully, I was able to go back to living ONE honest life.
4. Polar Opposites
There's this one guy I know who lives a double life, and the lives are polar opposites of each other. If you're in the right scenes, you'll see him a lot. I'm fortunate to have known him in both versions of him. By day, he works as an accountant on pretty big money. Nice car, snazzy suits, slicked-back jet black hair—he looks like your typical American-style yuppie.
The other side of him caught me off-guard the first time I encountered it. He was like Marylin Manson 2.0, with leather trench coats scraping along the floor and chains freaking everywhere. He also wore dramatic face makeup and eye shadows, framed by the fringe going down one side of his face. But that's not even the weirdest part.
He's like 40 years old and he's as shy as a mouse. I wish my life were that interesting.
5. Attention Seeker
In high school, I was a really hard-working student who would always try his best to get straight-As and be nice to other people. Well, in college, all of that changed. I was tired of being the "nice guy" and spending all of my time reading and studying. I wanted to be someone; to walk down the street and have people know exactly who I was and what I stood for.
I was attending an out-of-state college, so I knew no one would recognize me. I was going to make a name for myself. But it all went so wrong. Towards the end of my senior year, I took some improv classes and joined comedy clubs at my school in an attempt to break out of my introversion. I gradually took my head out of the books and started focusing my attention on my personality, testing myself to be more outgoing.
On my first day of class, I was extremely nervous. I really didn't say much, but at the end of the lecture, I went outside, introduced myself to some random people, and talked with them for a few minutes. They laughed at my jokes and it was pretty fun; however, it still felt like I hadn't accomplished much. I wanted longevity, so I continued this practice of putting myself out there all throughout college.
I ended up making new friends, getting invited to parties, having one-night stands, etc., and eventually, I became known as the "fun guy." I achieved what I had wanted, and I felt like I was on top of the world...except it was all a lie. I had been missing classes nonstop and my grades really fell because of it. By my junior year, I reached rock bottom and failed every single one of my classes, yet I was still somehow oblivious to what was going on.
Once I realized I was no longer an A student, I got depressed. I turned into drinking and substances, and every night, I'd text like 50 different people each day to see who I could stay with. I knew I needed to make a change. It was really hard, but I soon became my old studious self again. Now, I am now one semester away from being finished with my degree in law.
I still see some of my party friends from time to time, but I definitely learned my lesson from before. I now simply enjoy things in moderation, and I couldn't be happier because I have an awesome girlfriend, a great job, and a promising future.
6. Mafia Man
I was raised in the "family business" which was riddled with unlawful dealings. I never wanted to be a part of it, but I didn’t really have a choice. My father expected me to get a high school diploma or a GED, and then commit myself to the business full time. Instead, I opted to go to college. There was a major falling out between us, and my father and I barely spoke for years.
I never told my friends or my girlfriend (who I had planned on proposing to) about my past. I sold myself as some normal guy, but I’d actually done some pretty despicable and abhorrent things before I even entered college. After I graduated, I fell back into that same life, perhaps even deeper into it than before. It turned me into an addict, my girlfriend left time. I was at my lowest point ever.
After a few years of being clean (more or less), I turned things around for myself a second time. Nowadays, I refrain from telling girls I want to date about my past double life; not only to spare me the drama but also to protect them.
7. A Big Gamble
When I was 24, I worked at a very large corporate casino with a few close friends. We saw each other every day. They had no idea I was hiding a huge secret from right under their noses. I began secretly seeing my 40-year-old boss against company policy. We dated for about a year and a half. It was awful having to lie to my friends about who I was staying with some nights.
But I knew I had to keep quiet about the relationship in order to prevent us from losing our jobs. It was so hard. I didn't even realize until the relationship was over that I was leading a double life. Although he was a great guy, I was relieved when it ended because I didn't have to lie anymore.
8. Code Switching
I'm an English-born man, but I have spent most of my youth in the US. I currently live in the States with a green card. When I worked in retail, I adopted an American accent because it's more efficient than having to explain to everyone that I'm English and moved here when I was 14. This continued into office jobs until we were in a meeting with some English clients, who spoke first.
I immediately switched to my English accent. My boss looked at me for a second, stopped the meeting, and said: "Are you having a stroke?" I then had to explain my entire life story and we wasted half an hour. Sigh.
9. Sweet And Spice
I'm a well-educated, upper-middle-class American woman. After college, I found myself very broke and living in New York City. I was not making ends meet with my day job in a very popular cupcake bakery, so I decided to get creative. Through internet sleuthing, I found an opening for a professional dominatrix in an S&M dungeon. I applied, learned the ropes (no pun intended), and got the job.
By day I sold adorable cupcakes, and by night, I wore black latex and punished men. I also made rent.
10. The Good Boy
I grew up in a Roman Catholic home with a very close-knit family, sitting and eating dinner every night, talking hours on end about our days, friends, plans, anything. Given my good boy image, no one had a clue what I was really doing behind the scenes. In secret, I ran an unlawful distribution ring. At my peak, I had about 15 people working for me while hiding packages of substances in the house.
My parents were completely blind to what I was doing. The entire time, I had never touched substances or drinks. I did this from the tenth grade up until I graduated. I had a 95% average in sciences and math and I played on a number of sports teams whose players bought from people who worked for me, but they never had any idea.
My best friends who I'd hang out with every weekend didn't know until I told them myself. I realized once I turned 18 that I could get into some serious trouble, so I got out before I became of age.
11. Branched Off
A friend of mine lives in San Diego. She was recently telling me the story of her grandfather who has an entire family in Mexico that he kept hidden for decades. By that, I mean he has kids that have kids, and one of his secret granddaughters has ANOTHER kid. The dude was a great-grandfather and nobody knew. Her grandfather is nearly 90, so it's unbelievable how much a quiet old man can keep from people.
12. Keeping A Low Profile
In one of my previous jobs a few years ago, we hired this guy who was my really good partner. He worked hard and never complained. After about a year and a half of working with him, I got called into the office. He was there with the manager, the assistant manager, and two beefy guys in normal clothes with the exception of earpieces.
He wanted to say goodbye to the bosses and me. Turned out, he was the son of some leader in his country and they had to relocate him. Apparently, an opposing faction found out he was in our state and they were planning on kidnapping him for leverage.
13. Fresh Off The Runway
In my sophomore year in high school (living in a not-so-popular town in Texas), I was signed with a professional modeling agency in New York City. Every break I had from school was spent living in a model's apartment with different women from around the world and we would all go to the castings that the agency sent us to.
No one at my school knew anything up until my junior year when I was published in popular magazines that were distributed across the country. At home and in school, I was nerdy and shy; but I was totally confident and outgoing while working as a professional model. Also, by professional model, I mean by the fashion industry's standard.
None of this Instagram-modelling business.
14. Head Of Households
I have a wife and a five-year-old child in another country. I send money back home and speak to my daughter every two weeks. I have a significant other and a six-month-old child where I currently live.
15. Circus Freak
I am an engineer by day and fire performance circus freak by night. Whoever said it was a bad thing to run away and join the circus was wrong and has no idea how awesome it can be! Every day, I don my business casual, and when I get home, I spend my free time working on my choreography, costuming, and body paint ideas! Oh, and I get to tell people I have a literal license to burn. I get to light myself on fire for public displays of awesome! Then, in the mornings, I go back to work saving lives by improving the designs of medical devices.
16. Tipsy Mickey
My first life is that of a hardworking chemist—a lab technician, really, but my degree is in chemistry. My second life is that of a self-proclaimed, prolific, underground artist. I started this project called "TIPSY MICKEY" back in what should have been my final summer semester at university. I was undiagnosed with Tourette's at the time, and I was ashamed to see my friends or attend class. I was living in my car for those roughly three weeks. It felt like rock bottom.
I would get tipsy before class as self-medication. The drinking prevented me from acting out and having motor tics or vocal tics. It was unimaginably embarrassing to see classmates turn their heads during lectures out of disgust for the things I'd blurt out. I would drink a minimum of two shots and draw pictures of Mickey Mouse onto bar napkins. I had to have at least two—TIPSY MICKEY had a two-drink minimum.
I kept drawing TIPSY MICKEYs for two years. Every TIPSY MICKEY I drew was open source—I sometimes borrow styles from other artists, but I expected others to do the same with my work. Over time, my drawings made their rounds in the underground art scene, and no one had a clue that I was the artist behind them. Unfortunately, a lot of my original TIPSY MICKEYs were stolen when the authorities later raided my room in Pilsen, Chicago. They were either taken in as evidence or by my roommate.
Nobody at work has a clue that I led such a life. My coworkers know that I have sold a couple of paintings and they always joke that I will be famous someday, but I simply downplay that.
17. Uphill Struggle
For a few months, I lived a double life. I'd go to my job as a waitress during the day, but at the end of my shift, I'd go to the local homeless shelter because I had no place to live. I was kicked out of where I was initially living and because of a prior substance habit. My family didn't trust me enough to let me live in their homes, so I was homeless. My coworkers never would have believed it.
I had to get in line at 6:30 pm every day to make sure I got a bed. I was basically living with a hundred other homeless people each night. It was a weird juxtaposition each day. I'd go to work and be a part of "normal" life, then leave and be surrounded by addicts, parolees, and people just down on their luck. I had to learn to watch my stuff like a hawk and be very careful who I associated with.
Don't get me wrong, some homeless people are just average people who are at a bad point in their lives; but others are actually content to live that nightmare each day, just so they can continue doing what they do. I'm just happy to say that I'm in my own place now. I can tell coworkers where I live and not have to lie out of embarrassment.
18. Internet Famous
I'm what I jokingly refer to as a D-list YouTube celebrity. Not famous by any means, but every so often, people will recognize me or I'll be in a video that will make the rounds on popular blogs. But many of my friends aren't in the entertainment industry so they're completely shocked when worlds collide.
In college, it was especially bizarre. I worked for a pretty big YouTube channel, Key of Awesome, and I acted in a bunch of their videos. When people asked where I worked, I usually just said I worked for a production company, because unless they were really into YouTube, they wouldn't understand my job. A lot of my friends didn't even really care what I did.
But every so often, a video I was in would go viral and I'd have people coming up to me in classes like, "Did I just see you on Perez??" I once went to a YouTube event with a friend and she was shocked when I was mobbed by a bunch of eager 10-year-olds wanting autographs. Even though I don't work at Key of Awesome anymore, I'll still get recognized sometimes.
Just two weeks ago, I was at dinner with a friend and a nervous mom approached me, asking if I could take a photo with her daughter. Apparently, her daughter was a huge fan. My friend's jaw dropped. They were watching that situation unfold like, "How come you never told me you were famous, and if you're famous, why aren't you rich enough to cover my meal?"
Outside of the YouTube world, I work odd jobs in production and do the whole struggling actor thing in LA. A lot of the friends I've made out here (I moved from NY about nine months ago) aren't in the industry, so I usually just say I have a background in comedy and production. And so the cycle is basically repeating itself whenever they see me on YouTube.
I had a coworker at one of my production jobs come up to me the other day and say, "So, my friend said there was this really funny YouTube parody I needed to watch...Anything you wanna explain before I continue?" It's fun.
19. Side Hustle
Throughout high school, I starred in some serious adult films to raise money. I had a pretty bad relationship with my parents. They eventually enrolled me in online school to keep a closer eye on me. Little did they know I could get up to my mischief in my own room. It started out as a webcam show here and there, but it gradually turned into a full-fledged business.
I was raking in some serious cash. I quit a year back because it utterly destroyed my self-esteem, and I've spiraled in and out of depression since then. But on the other hand, I'm now a 19-year-old who can afford to attend a top-75 college in the US without federal aid, parent aid, or student loans.
20. Turn It Up!
About 14 years ago, after I graduated college, I got a job teaching at a middle school. I was an average, run-of-the-mill educator during the day, but I had a second life in the nighttime, and my students never suspected a thing. I doubled as a DJ, working at a goth-industrial nightclub. Teacher by day, rivethead by night.
That was the extent of my double-life. It didn't last though, as I was having a hard time staying alert and awake at school...so I gave up teaching.
21. Box Of Secrets
My grandmother passed away a couple of years ago. While going through her house, my family found a box with my grandfather's name on it in his handwriting. My grandfather passed before I was born. It was taped closed and the dust on it suggested it hadn’t ever been opened. Inside, my family found newspaper clippings and other documents. When we realized what they were, we were stunned.
Turns out that in the early 1900s, my grandfather took a road trip with friends to see the ocean. During their time at the beach, their car was stolen. They decided to stay awhile; being in their late teens and out of school. They earned some money and had a good time. My grandfather then met a Mexican woman and married her within the course of a month.
There was an article on vehicle theft, as well as another on marriage. We could never find information on what happened next. We don’t even rightly know if they married for love, to get her citizenship, if they had kids, or even if he was legally divorced when he married my grandmother in the 1930s. We don’t think my grandmother knew.
However, we did find out his first wife returned to Mexico. She did have children (who say they don’t think their mom had kids before she remarried). We sent them copies of the documents we found and they were as flabbergasted as we were.
22. Foreign Exchange
It began in my second year of university, when I was 19 years old, in a college town with a major downtown bar scene. My roommate from Brazil made me a fake Brazilian ID using his phenomenal photoshop skills. With some Italian in my blood, I looked like I could pull it off. I scanned the ID, changed the picture and the names, added my signature, and voila: a fake, foreign ID that bouncers rarely had any details about.
Every week for about two years, I went downtown as a Brazilian 22-year-old and met a huge variety of people (some knowing my secret, some not). With an atrocious Italian and Russian accent, sprinkled with some foreign style, I could go downtown and live a second life where I wasn't myself or even American, but a foreign exchange student ready to enjoy some drinks.
23. Rich And Poor
My mom has schizophrenia and some other issues. Most of the time, she couldn't raise me very well, so I was pretty much raised by my grandmother who had a sort of visitation set-up with my mom. I grew up in my grandmother's house in a college town where most people were upper-middle-class (although my grandmother and I weren't) and the school system was the best in the state, etc.
When I was around eight years old, my mom moved out to a fairly rural area into a trailer park. This town was about an hour away from my grandmother's house. My mom would visit me some days, and I would visit her at her trailer other days. I would often spend weekends and the summers with my mom.
It was like two different worlds. When I think back on my memories from that time, it almost feels as if I'm remembering things from two different people's lives. I obviously didn't go to school at the times when I was visiting my mom, so that gave it a very different feel. I was basically a feral child. My grandmother was overprotective and only let me play in our own backyard—she barely let me leave the house, and she never let me have friends over.
At my mom's place, on the other hand, nobody gave a heck about what I did. I'd wake up at noon, leave the house (often without shoes on) and go into the woods or the cornfields all day. I had a whole different set of friends at the trailer park that was very different from the kids I knew back home. These kids had southern accents, were mildly ignorant in a naive sort of way, and I could tell that their schooling was very different from mine.
These kids got beaten for acting up (which made my own beatings seem more normal) whereas back at my grandmother's town, the kids there got time-outs or a stern talking-to. Anyway, I eventually quit going out to the trailer park and I lost my bidialectal abilities; though, by now, I have a deeper understanding of what living in a rural area like that is like.
24. March Madness
My grandpa and his older brother were Jewish teenagers on their way to college shortly after the Holocaust. Due to the hatred of Jews, they both had a lot of difficulties finding a job and getting into school because of their last name. My grandpa applied to the same university multiple times, always getting denied.
After the third denial, he decided to take action and change his last name to something less obvious. He and his older brother went to a courthouse and changed their last name to March because that was the month they changed it in. A few months later, my grandpa once more submitted his application and got accepted.
25. Little Swindlers
During the Great Depression, my grandfather was injured at his job and he couldn't work. For a year, to keep the family going, my then 12-year-old father and his older brother dropped out of school and ran "change raising" schemes on shopkeepers in Cleveland, Ohio for money, and it pretty much became the family's only source of income.
"Change raising" is a generic term for several variations for tricking a cashier while they are giving you your change from whatever purchase you just made. The schemer uses tried-and-true cover stories for getting the cashier to combine several change-giving transactions at the same time, and the cashier ultimately ends up giving too much change for the purchase. The schemer ends up with both the item and some extra cash. When it's done well the cashier won't even know it happened.
My grandparents knew what they were up to and they didn't approve of it, but they didn't stop them either, it's just what kept food on the table in tough times. After a year, grandpa went back to work, and my dad and uncle went back to school to be regular kids again. My father later taught me how to do several variations of it, including one that is still probably not well known.
He showed it to me and, even knowing it was going to happen, he still had to slow down and explain to me where the mistake occurred.
26. The Landlord's Secret
This is about my landlord when I was in the Peace Corps. I was assigned to one of the poorest towns in Southern Honduras. I was living with a family in a mud-brick house when someone told me about a listing for rent in the "exclusive" neighborhood. It's this little street of about 20 houses—each of which is no more than 1,000 square feet and made of concrete bricks with asbestos roofing.
The really big deal was that the neighborhood had its own pump and therefore had running water for about four hours a day, which was much better than the norm in the town of water a few hours a week. Anyway, no one spoke any English in the town, not even the English teachers, but this woman told me that her husband had built the place for them in the exclusive neighborhood and that she didn't want to live there because it was too far from her family.
So she rented out the place to me for $40 per month and after a couple of months or so, her husband came back to town. He was...not what I expected. He was a skinny, effeminate man who spoke perfect English...very gay and incredibly nice. Why the heck was this man, who spoke perfect English (a mark of higher class), living in this real dirt hole of a town? Well, it turns out, he led a double life.
Six months of the year, he works as a bartender on cruise ships, and the other six months, he's home with his wife and family. None of his family knew that he was gay. They think he mops floors and stuff while he's on the boats. A genuine double life.
27. Behind Closed Doors
When I was 10 years old, I developed an eating disorder. I was diagnosed with EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified), but in my case, it was basically a mix of anorexia, bulimia, picky eating, and over-exercising. During the day, with my friends and my family, I would try to act as normally as possible.
I'm sure my skeletal physique raised some suspicions among them, but whenever they asked me if something was wrong, I said no and everyone believed I was fine. Little did they know that every night, I was staying up exercising, looking up thinspo, hovering over the toilet, and writing in food diaries. They just thought I was sleeping.
28. Cook, Clean, Pose
I was a line and prep cook in a kitchen, working my way up to a supervisor position, while also working as an adult model. I wasn't really "out" when it came to my modeling. A very few close friends knew, as well as some family, but that was about it. I was attempting to keep both identities separate. I ended up landing a pretty fantastic title in the alternative model industry.
One weekend, I was working at a convention when my boss from the restaurant randomly came up to the booth. I had to awkwardly explain to him what I was doing there. After that, the cat was out of the bag, and I've been shamelessly going by both names ever since. More often than not, I get approached by people using my online identity rather than my birth name.
29. Losing Faith
I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness. I decided when I was 13 that I didn't want to be a part of the faith anymore and my mother threatened to kick me out of the house or send me to live with my father. I was scared and didn't know any better, so I acquiesced and started pretending to live life according to her rules—but the physical, emotional, and psychological tactics didn't stop.
I held the lie and lived with it for 10 years until I moved out and left town to live on my own. Then, when I was 26, I told my dad everything about what my mother had done to me. My dad told me he was sorry he didn't try to get custody of me when I was little and I realized that all my fear of my father was built up out of all the bad things my mother had told me about him...none of which was true.
Despite knowing that I was doing what I had to survive and try to live as normally as possible, I still feel intense guilt over the lies I told and the double life I lived.
30. The Friendly Canadian
I went out on this epic bike trip with my buddies Jim and Max, 1,500 miles around Vermont and Maine. At one point, we stopped at a bar in Burlington, and Jim suddenly became "The Canadian." He came up with it a month prior. He would pretend to be from Montreal and would speak French most of the time, but he'd know enough broken English to get by. He'd chain together nonsense and tiny phrases in a French-Canadian accent. Kids love it.
Anyway, at the bar, Jim bumbled out: "I am...from...Canada. Montreal, Quebec." Unexpectedly, a French Canadian turned around at the table next to us and said, "You are from Montreal? Bonjour!" He then followed with a string of French sentences. The look on Jim's face was priceless. It was incredibly funny watching him fess up. The actual Canadian was legitimately confused for a second because Jim's acting was so convincing.
We ended up drinking with that Canadian dude all night.
31. Good-Willed Deception
There was a 20-something-year-old guy in a nearby town who passed away. He left a will that granted a bunch of money to his sister, on the condition that she couldn't have it until she got clean from her substance use and went to college. At her graduation, the guy showed up and admitted that he faked his own passing and was actually living overseas. He still gave her the money and helped her open a business with it.
32. Good Girl, Bad Habits
I was the "good girl" type. I always got good grades, I put myself through college and a master's program, I have an education-related job, I love kids, I'm good to my family and friends, I'm not into partying...all that jazz. Most people who know me would never suspect my darkest secret. I struggled with addiction as a child, and was subjected to emotional pain by my neglectful mother and hot-tempered father.
My real secret, though, is the promiscuity that resulted from that trauma. I think I needed validation, affection, or comfort in some form. As soon as I turned 18, I was completely submerged in the online dating site world. I met many men who were much older than me; men who wanted things I'd never even heard of. I started out having fun, feeling powerful.
I thought I was so beautiful that I could get any man to want me. It started shifting at some point when I realized more and more what I was really doing to myself. I was devaluing myself, thinking my only value was my body. The biggest turning point was when I met this one guy online—I expected him to be just like the rest of him, but he totally surprised me.
He helped change my behavior in a matter of months. Now, don't get me wrong—I don't think there is anything innately wrong with promiscuity. I was just doing it for all the wrong reasons and it made me feel empty instead of fulfilled. Keep in mind that through this wildest, out-of-control phase of my life, I was still working at a daycare, going to class, teaching students, doing my schoolwork, making lesson plans, and maintaining good relationships with my friends and family.
Little did they know that I was actually dying inside, sleeping with multiple men in a single day to try and fill a void in my life. I'm not sure if it will ever be filled—it was left there by my mother and will likely never be satiated by someone else.
33. Mistaken Identity
My mom is a consultant. When I was growing up, we used to go with her on business trips during the summer and we'd turn them into mini-vacations. This one time, we ended up on B.F.E. Indiana—I was a teenager and we had purchased a video cassette player years back for car rides. Well, we went to this manufacturing company and I sat in their cafeteria, hooked up the PS2, and started playing games while my mom did her job.
Apparently, on the second day of me doing this, I sparked some outrage among the managers. My mom had been out on the floor and she walked into a meeting room where they were apparently discussing this "lady" and the "gall" she had. My mom was only half paying attention to this conversation as she entered the room, but she said the conversation went something like this:
"Well, I don't know who hired her!" "Me neither, she isn't doing anything!" "Well, what are we going to do? I want to know who hired her!" "I didn't!" "Me neither." "Look, why don't we just cut her a check for the hours she showed up and get rid of her!" "I guess that's all we can do, this is ridiculous."
Cut to an hour or so later, it all became clear. My mom walked in off the floor and asked me for some change for the vending machine. A guy there said, "You know her???" And my mom said, "Uh yeah, that's my daughter." Cue the collective "Oohs." We later came to find out that I was the lady they were having a meeting about.
I still think my mom should have let them cut me a check for their stupidity.
34. Pilot Promiscuity
My mother's a flight attendant and she has all these stories about pilots having more than one family. Some even had three or more. They all have houses for each family with several children, and some of them managed to "marry" each wife without them knowing it wasn't legit. They get away with it for so long because they are flying across the country for days or weeks at a time.
35. On The Side
My best friend's boyfriend was raised by a single dad and his two older brothers. Turns out, their dad is secretly married to another woman and they have three children who are their step-siblings. They have no idea about their father's new family.
36. Loving The Boss
When I was in college, I worked at a nearby store. I worked there for over a year before I became involved with one of the managers there. Our relationship evolved over the course of months, which then led to years. He was married, and I knew this. The first time anything physical happened between us, I felt a crushing sense of guilt.
I'm not sure what exactly propelled me further into the relationship. There was just something that kept me hooked. Throughout the years, we developed a very close relationship. I talked to him all day, every day about everything. He completely opened up to me as well. I was completely head over heels in love with him. All of my time was spent with him.
My family and closest friends had no idea. They were completely oblivious to the biggest part of my life. It was constant lies from me...The extent that I went to was just insane. Eventually, I severed our physical relationship, but he is still a major part of my life and is completely involved in every decision I make.
I was never going to ask him to leave his wife...but I didn't want to spend my life single either. I do feel guilty and I honestly have no excuses.
37. Safe House Confessions
My friends and family think I am just a regular bodyguard. I am 6'4" and about 400 lbs the last time I checked. My job started out fairly normal, but the lawyer I work for became deeply involved in a 100-million-dollar illicit distribution ring. He and his associates are constantly under threat. I have personally moved $80 million in cash when one of our dealers was on the run from the law.
Eventually, my boss sold me out to the dealer whose money I moved and he disappeared. The dealer was trying to take out everyone who could tie him to the operation or the money, and that included me. He took the life of my good friend and co-worker, as well as his own partner of two years. The DEA is chasing him, and they are currently protecting me.
I have been in a safe house for over two years now. I can't use my phone because they are tracking it, and the DEA agents who put me here have not returned. I have only recently started using a laptop that was left in the apartment. I took about $400,000 in cash when I moved the $80 million, so I'm under strict rules. I have to have four or five meals delivered every day, but I have not been outside in over two years now.
Hopefully, those two agents will return any day now to update me on the situation.
38. Double-Edged Sword
None of my friends know that I am the granddaughter and heiress to a shipping magnate. I have always lived extremely comfortably. I go to art school, where most of my friends come from middle- or lower-income families, and I have taken out substantial student loans. Sometimes, I have to help my friends pay for some groceries because they just don't have enough money.
I have been told explicitly by my family that I, under no circumstances, am allowed to divulge my economic situation to anyone. My parents want to protect me, and they don't want my economic status to attract negative attention to me. I hate my situation. I know the first thought that will probably come to your mind is, "Wow, your life must be so easy! You're rich!"
Well, it sucks. I'm not going to deny that I am very fortunate and lucky, but it sucks having to pretend to be someone else 24/7 and lie to people on a daily basis about my family. It sucks being embarrassed to tell people what my parents do or invite them over to my house. It's isolating and I have never felt like I have belonged.
39. A Total 180
I was studying in Balliol, Oxford, living the regular student life during the day...while working the streets in Reading at night. I come from a very upper-middle-class family but I put on a regional accent because I think it makes me more approachable. I tell people in real life that I was a virgin before I got married for "religious reasons."
40. The Old-School Fugitive
A counselor at my college in Michigan faked his identity for over 40 years. He was a civil rights organizer in San Francisco in the 1960s and ended up in a shoot-out with authorities. No one was injured, but he was shot in the foot, apparently. He was supposed to appear in court later but he took off.
In the 40+ years following the shooting, he earned his master's degree with a whole new identity, ultimately working as a guidance counselor at a community college in Michigan. His true identity was exposed in 2010 and he went on trial for the shooting in California. He was sentenced to a year behind bars and about $8,000 in fines.
He was a nice guy—you’d never expect anybody who’s seemingly normal to actually be an old-school fugitive on the run.
41. It's Never Too Late
There was this kid at our church who started attending the youth group when he was about 15. Everyone loved him, but he was always a little standoffish. Fast forward three years to graduation time—everyone kept asking him what he planned to do after high school and if he was looking forward to it, but he always changed the subject.
Finally, the truth came out, and we couldn't believe it. He revealed to one of the adults that he wasn’t graduating because he hadn’t been to school since he was eight years old. His dad removed him from the school and just never let him return. A whole bunch of stuff went down after that, but the church members helped him do a fast-track high school degree in three years. They've also paid for him to attend a university.
42. Detached For Good
I served in the Navy from 1985 to 2005. While in my first squadron, from 1985 to 1989, we were away from home often; either on short detachments of two to five weeks or six-month deployments. During one period when we were at home for a while, I was on watch in the duty office after hours. I had to man the office, answer the phone, and monitor the guys on watch down in the hangar bay.
Shortly after my watch started, I got a phone call from the wife of someone in our squadron. She was asking us when the squadron would be back from detachment. I asked another guy if he knew about anybody out on detachment, and he just looked at me funny. I told her we didn't currently have anyone on detachment and that we had all been back home for a couple of months.
She insisted her husband had been out on detachment for three weeks and needed to know when he was coming home. She then just hung up after that. Turns out, the guy was telling his wife he was out on detachment, but he was really shacking up with his girlfriend for a few weeks. She called the Commanding Officer to find out how many times her husband had been part of a detachment and she found out he'd cheated on her many times over the past couple of years.
Infidelity is officially against the Code of Justice. It didn't turn out well for him.
43. Human Trials
Life 1: Pretty typical college student. Classes, problem sets, going out with friends on the weekends. Life 2: Total authority over what treatments were allowed for a genetically flawed and (improperly classified as) mentally ill patient at an institute specializing in highly secretive and questionably experimental medicine, who were very interested in doing research on my ward.
Most of the patients that end up in the system are considered mentally unfit to authorize their own medical decisions (if they're minors, or more commonly if they have mental conditions that can impair rational thought). In these circumstances, they have someone with the power of agency to be the one who signs off on treatments and other binding decisions on their behalf.
I became the agent for one of these patients. That's when I learned about the darker things going on. The agent has no obligation to make decisions that their ward agrees on, which is why they can end up being parts of truly horrific research. In theory, it allows for agents to make rational decisions on behalf of their wards who are acting irrationally, but it's been twisted into something far more sinister.
Such is especially the case when the ward exhibits interesting genetic traits. The hospitals involved can usually find a way to get a member of their staff appointed as that ward's agent, and then pretty much anything goes. That was one of the most emotionally draining and jading periods of my life.
44. The Name Game
I have a name that's unpronounceable to most Americans. In elementary school, instead of listening to them mangle my name, I decided to choose a random English name to go by while in the States. Quite a lot of foreigners do this. A year would come and go, and I'd be in a new class with new teachers and new classmates in no time. I decided on a whim to choose a different name every time. I've been doing it for years and I'd always end up in a new social circle. I can tell when and where I met someone by what they call me.
45. Gone "Hunting"
My boyfriend’s sister’s friend was married to this guy and started a family with him. They just had their second child actually (the first was probably seven or eight years old). Every year, he went on a hunting trip to Missouri for about a week. Turns out, he wasn’t hunting—he actually had another family there. Two kids, almost exactly the same ages as the other two. The friend divorced him immediately when she found out.
46. Meeting Oscar
On my grandmother's 85th birthday, a party was organized. My whole family was there. This is all happening in northern Mexico, so the invitation rules were pretty loose. I was about 17 at the time, so were most of my cousins. One of them, Gerardo, didn't have a girlfriend at the time, so he came with a friend, Oscar. They had been hanging around for about four years, but this was the first time Oscar was going to meet the family.
When they arrived, an older cousin was going around the parking lot collecting money from every cousin so we could buy some booze. Gerardo said he could ask his father for some money, and Oscar accompanied him. When they entered the hall where the main party was taking place, Oscar ran back out. He said he had just seen his father who he had only seen twice before.
Gerardo curiously asked who he was. They both entered and Oscar pointed to the man. Turns out, my uncle was also Oscar's father. Oscar got to meet all of the family. We all got to meet the cousin we didn't know we had.
47. Serial Fibber
I worked with this guy once who was known for his stories. No matter how loose the connection was, he'd find a way to turn anything into a personal anecdote of a thing he'd seen or done before. All of them were interesting the first time (he'd lived an interesting life—he grew up in America, moved to Australia in his early 20s, worked in a lot of really cool places over the years), but it wasn't long before he started repeating the same stories over and over again.
I worked with him for just over three years, so it got pretty ridiculous. We knew how he'd met his wife, all the obscure things he owned, his pets, his kids—we knew every detail of his life. It became a bit of an inside joke within the office about how the guy never shut up. Then one day, he didn't come in. He passed of a heart attack. The whole office was at a loss, especially our little department (which had about 8 people in it, including him).
When it came to his funeral, our little group took the afternoon off and attended. And that's how we found out the truth—none of his stories were true. He'd grown up locally, his family wasn't at all who we thought they were, none of his old jobs were real...Everything we'd known about him had just been made up. The most interesting thing for me was that at one point, our boss needed someone to head to China to double-check something in person at one of our company's factories.
When the usual choices couldn't do it, he was picked. It seemed like a no-brainer since he was regularly going to China from America to visit his family and he said he had traveled a lot on his other jobs. We now think that may have been his first time overseas.
48. Forever Traumatized
A guy wrote to a radio station asking for help about his situation. His story was truly shocking. He had been dating this girl for about three months. They had talked about moving in together after graduating high school. They were both seniors and they went to different schools in different towns. One day, after school, he went over to his girlfriend's parents' house for the first time.
They went to her room and they got intimate. Her parents were gone at the time, so they thought it would be the perfect time to do it. After they did the deed, the guy went to the bathroom and on his way, he saw a photo of his girlfriend's family sitting on a table at the end of the hallway. He walked up to it and picked it up. Upon looking at it, his face went white.
He brought the photo to his girlfriend and asked her who the guy was in the photo. She told him that was her father. He instantly got up, got dressed and left the house, and he told her he could never see her again. Later on, she discovered why he was acting so bizarrely, and the truth made her sick. The man in the photo was his father.
He had caught his dad living a double life. He had two families. His father went on business trips a lot, so every time he was on a "trip," he was actually with her family. He wrote to the radio station seeking advice on what he should do—if he should confront his dad, or tell his mom. I have no idea what he actually did, but man, I wish the kid would write back in and tell us what happened.
49. Making Things Right
Back in the '80s, I unwittingly got a woman pregnant. She was married at the time and told me she had had a hysterectomy, so I thought she couldn't get pregnant. Yeah, she was a pathological liar. The day she told me that she was to have my child, I freaked out and left. That was not my proudest moment. In fact, the guilt would follow me years later.
Whenever I would date women with children, I'd remember the awful thing I had done. At one point, I even raised a child who was not mine with a woman, and to this day I call her my daughter. My family would always badger me about why I never had any kids...None of them know that I have a child. Eventually, with the help of Al Gore and his internet, I found my daughter.
I saw a photo of her on MySpace, and I kept tabs on her for a while. At one point, she posted something about feeling like she didn't fit in with the rest of her family; like she was different. That's what convinced me to contact her and try to start fresh with her mom. Things went well and we are now on good terms.
50. The Lowly Heir
I am a poor man living in project housing in Queens, NY, but I have a secret that could change my life any time now. My father is the chairman of some corporation. My mother was his first wife and he divorced her shortly after my birth before he acquired his fortune. I know who he is, and I've met him a couple of times, but he never participated in my childhood and upbringing. He wasn't even present at my birth.
Because of family law and registry in Asian countries, and because I have official documentation that I am his firstborn son, I am entitled first dibs to the inheritance. Essentially, I am the heir to one of the biggest fortunes in Asia. That said, my mother and I live in real fear that his current wife or her immediate family would harm me in order to prevent me from obtaining it.
My father made life a living nightmare for my mother when they were married. Actually, a lot of his current wealth was seeded from my mother's parents. He was a serial liar and cheater, and he has taken much of my mother's happiness. Despite the fact that I have first dibs by law, obtaining the fortune will be a risky endeavor for me, especially since my father's family employs servants and bodyguards.
My father tends to buy a house near ours whenever we move, just to watch what we are doing. It scares the heck out of me. If I try an inheritance coup, I'd need a bunker or a serious protection program. Even worse, almost all the lawyers in my birth country would be on his family's side. The divorce lawyer he used to divorce my mother, for example, was the mayor of the capital city of my birth country.
My mother got nothing in the divorce, so I live poorly in a housing project with her and with other really poor people who don't mind roaches on their laundry. I live on instant noodles and Pop-Tarts. I don't even own a toaster in my sublet room.