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.
Photo is a silly selfy – yes I sometimes use a tripod for my selfies….
Reposted from February 1, 2014