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Definition: Deception, trickery; the act of conveying false ideals or impressions.

Pronunciation: FEE-nah-KIZZ-m


Ancient Greek; coming directly from the naming of a glassy mineral which looks nearly identical to quartz, but has no “true” gemstone value, and is thus considered an “impostor”.

Why this word?

I’m not a dater. I think romance is baffling, dates are often understood to be pointed (and thus uncomfortable), and that the expectations of significant intimacy– no matter how generalized –are mostly exhausting and boring.

But, I’m still (somewhat) human. I get lonely, in spite of my better knowledge and judgment.

Though, when I actually do feel the rare desire to dabble in that weird, awkward dance called Courting, I think I deserve honesty coming from the current target of my affections– right? (The same sentiment applies, vice versa. I don’t like to lie to anyone.)

So, it boggles me how some charismatic phenakist ever thought I was fool enough to fall for their bullshit.

I know that I have always had a rich, satisfying internal life. It’s just the way I’m wired. I am, 95% of the time, quite happy being single, alone– however you wish to categorize. But all of that aside, I still don’t think my (rarely, if ever activated) standards for interpersonal attention are too cumbersome or rigorous to navigate. Don’t lie to me. Mirror the same patience that I offer to you. Be forward and up-front– I personally cannot operate on anything less. How can those be too difficult to comprehend? In which stipulation could someone read: “I know I said be honest with me, but I’ll definitely understand you’re just too much of a shining gem of a gift and forgive you when I find out your deception!”

I was born during the day, but I wasn’t born yesterday, dig?

Something I’ve never understood is the irrational, detrimental compulsion to continue either seeing or interacting with someone who strings along multiple potential suitors at once. Like, okay– I do understand that specialized attention is nice and makes people feel good, makes them feel important; but at what cost? If the one providing it treats you to your face like you’re #1, when really you’re their Backup-Plan Maybe #3 (if the one who’s totally out of their league doesn’t notice them, and the second-best step down whom they’re really aiming for decides to select better.) That doesn’t sound like they respect you very much. That doesn’t sound like they value your worth as an individual; as a person.

Across the board, almost all people deserve to be treated better than getting relegated as a “backburner option”.

How do you use the word phenakism in a sentence?

Example: “Harvey had been suck in an intractible cycle of phenakism for quite some time. Deeply unhappy with his lack of personal accomplishments, he made up wild, exciting lies which he fed to his acquaintences– and, briefly, he would become satisfied. But, after a while, the same stories got stale, milked completely dry of any entertaining attention; their diamond veneer would fade, and Harvey would be left staring at the same old lump of worthless rock whenever he examined his life. The common, everyday little miracles– like being able to get out of bed, and progress from dawn to dusk without jumping in front of a bus –wouldn’t even register with him.”


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Written by Veronica Jacobs

Veronica Jacobs is a fiction writer, blogger, academic editor, and sci-fi enthusiast. Currently working freelance (with a background in English Literature), she spends most of her time writing.


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