Will the Real Trent McDonald Please Stand Up (Repost)

Trent-mask

The mask that you see
Shows, not hides reality
I am always me

Hold on a sec’ while I adjust my blogging mask.  There, much better.

OK, now where was I?  Oh yes, continuity of self.

When we look back through our day our lives seem linear.  There’s a continuum of our identity.  Sure, we acknowledge mood swings and we understand we have different roles to play.  But we stay the same person throughout, don’t we?

I think in many ways our persona changes.  Perhaps a better way of looking at it is that we change masks.  I have a mask that I wear at work.  In fact, even though my dress code through the years has gone from suit to just a tie to business casual to what-ever-I-want-to-wear, I still dress in business casual so I can differentiate “Working Trent” from “At Home Trent”.  My mask spreads to my cloths.

Actually, at work I tend to wear different masks.  My boss sees one Trent.  My colleagues see another.  My customers see an even different side.  Of course the people whose customer I am see somebody else entirely.  Within these categories I show a different side to different people depending on how I see them and how I perceive that they see me.  I’m 100% business with some customers while I joke with others.  I talk kayaking with the outdoorsy and Paris with cosmopolitan.  One might understand Milhaud, another Miles, and then another Miley.  Of course some like Picasso and others talk only Patriots.  I don’t consciously change, but place, person and circumstance seem to bring out different parts of me.

Friends and family – it doesn’t matter, there is a mask for each.  Even when I’m by myself I see the world in different ways depending on how I feel and what I’m doing.

So, you might ask, am I being false or shallow?  Of course not!  Each mask is just another facet of the “true”, “universal” Trent.  These changes are not a conscious act.  And, of course, a mask is very superficial, the real me is always present.  There are also aspects of being Trent that everyone sees.  Despite mob psychology and peer pressure I have certain core beliefs that I tend to keep.  I am always me.

One problem is everyone reads a mask in a different way and sometimes our masks have lenses built in, changing how we perceive the masks of others.  Or perhaps the mask casts a reflection of those who look at it.  It is up to you to ensure the essence of you, those core values that make you a unique person, shine through your mask.  It’s important for us to recognize the masks we wear and understand the roles we play and how these things interact.

Continuity of self.  We may change masks all day but we need to stay focused on who we are.  We do need to keep that continuum of our identity.  Whatever mask you happen to be wearing, you need to stay true to yourself.

Ooops, that wasn’t my blogging mask, it was my pop-philosophy mask.  Oh well, Trent is always Trent.

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Photo is a silly selfy – yes I sometimes use a tripod for my selfies….

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Reposted from February 1, 2014

16 thoughts on “Will the Real Trent McDonald Please Stand Up (Repost)

  1. lifeconfusions

    First of all the title cracked me up, never took you as an Eminem’s fan ! :D
    And selfie(with a tripod) is awesome and I like this pop-philosophy mask of yours, a very insightful post Trent. We have to be who we are, even if we behave differently with different people it still means it’s us, just the different versions! ;)

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Actually I stole the title from the same place Eminem stole it, an old game show. On another comment I said I should use the word “filter” – we let parts of our true selves out but keep other parts back depending on context. But the post about masks was much funner to write than a post about filters would have been.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Perhaps, but that’s what the introspection at the end of the year does. Either that or in a mad rush to get something up I was trying to find a post with a poem in it that 1) I haven’t reblogged before and 2) did have a specific meaning for the time I posted it.

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  2. Candace Habte

    Not that there’s anything wrong with masks (as long as you’re true to yourself like you stated). It’s how we relate to others. But I guess I get tired of it sometimes, it’s necessary at times (i.e. work) but sometimes it feels draining and one-sided.

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  3. Candace Habte

    I’ve always related to a lot of different types of people (even if they weren’t aware of it) and I used to always say “I relate to a lot of people but very few relate to all sides of me”. I like the mask analogy, but I always looked at it more of giving/sharing “pieces of myself”.

    I’m speaking past tense, because I’m changing in some ways right now so my views are starting to change. So I think I’ll start keeping more pieces for myself, and let people adjust…less “masks”, and less “giving away pieces” you know?

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Maybe a better analogy would be “filter”. There is the real me, and even I don’t know the whole of “Trent”, and then I use filters when I relate to people. That sounds a little less false.

      We’re all different with different facets so I think we chose, sometimes unconsciously, what mask/filter we use or what pieces we give away depending on the person.

      We’re also all human so deep down inside we all have the same basic hopes and dreams, though we express them in different ways, so I can see how you can relate to a lot of people, even if they don’t get all sides of you.

      One thing about giving or sharing pieces of yourself is you still have them. There might be people who take misuse those pieces, that use them to expose you vulnerabilities. There might be others that don’t appreciate what a gift you’ve given them and some who refuse to give back. But in the end those pieces are still yours.

      Maybe your last sentence should be “more mask but less giving away pieces.” The mask shows a facet of your true self but also hides the rest.

      Now I’m an extreme introvert so I don’t give a huge amount of myself to people in most social face-to-face interaction, as far as giving away my “secret identity under the mask”, but I always try to be real and I try to be as true to me, the human being, as I can when I write, even comments on blog posts ;)

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      1. Candace Habte

        “We’re also all human so deep down inside we all have the same basic hopes and dreams, though we express them in different ways, so I can see how you can relate to a lot of people, even if they don’t get all sides of you.” <–really well put

        And yes, I think "filter" is a great analogy…Happy Holidays! :)

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