I have come to the conclusion that masks are a core part of life. I see them all around. I saw it at home this past break where even I wore one. I saw when I went to school where people seem to paint smiles on their faces yet scowl underneath. Some wear a mask even though we don’t realize it. I come back to school and a lot of people are about as friendly as the first few weeks of school. I really don’t think all of them are sincere, especially since I know how things end up a few weeks later now.
It’s weird. I can see that most of us have masks. Some more layered than others; some with too many to count. It is rare that we completely act in accordance to how we want to when we are with others. We often act according to the expectations or bias of the crowd. The peer-pressure instills fear in our hearts and so weakens our will when we need to act in a manner not supported by the crowd. It happens many a time that privately, one may seem like a good friend, but out in public or with one of his her group of friends, they may insult or not even acknowledge you.
But why do we wear these kinds of masks if they are not good? I think it’s because of fear and sometimes even self preservation. As we are growing up and until we reach the stage where we no longer need the masks, we need them. We need them to protect the bit of good and desire to be better. We fear that if we reveal who are entirely, it will be opposed and attacked, not supported nor changed for the better. At least this is what we convince ourselves of thinking. But there is a limit to which we can divert from our personality without starting to become that which we do not wish to become. It also is the case that since we have yet to have obtained the maturity we need that we are still malleable. We can be formed to act in various ways. We often take parts of these various identities we assume to form the being that we call "ourself".
There is a point, however, where we are on the wrong track to maturity and so need someone else to help fix it. And so, we cannot completely dispose of our masks until we come to find that which we need to become. For the mask gives us access to groups that may in fact help us in the end. It is not always the case that peer-pressure is bad. There are good groups out there that inspire virtue instead of malice. It is for our own good that we seek these groups out and work with them. However, since there are wolves out there ready to pounce on whoever they can find, we need to hide ourselves for protection. And even after we find who we need to be, we cannot be free of these masks. Instead we should adopt another one.
The mask I speak of this time is more physical and not so psychological. One that can hide your identity as a whole. For a physical mask is that instrument by which we show our true selves, feelings, beliefs, and actions without fear. It is not what hides our identity but instead reveals who we are inside. The best example of this would be Batman in which Bruce Wayne is said to be the mask. However, because we live our lives with a multitude of "masks", we are not recognized by our true deeds. At this point, we need that mask. For even if we know who we need to become, we are still malleable and easily formed one way or another. It is often the case that change for the better is hindered by those who know who we "are" and not who we want to become. In order to fully mature, we must separate from them at this stage and return after we have finally come to no longer need the mask (these are the times when we go out on those "find yourself" journeys of which college could be for those prepared). For it is after we can discard the mask, that we have grown up and are ready to face whatever opposition there may be toward virtue and maturity and so be a good man or woman.