Updated: Feb 8
Who Was That Masked Man?
This evening, Facebook reminded me of a post of mine from New Year’s Eve, 2014. On my high school senior class wall, I wrote:
"There are very few things I regret. One of them is thinking that, when we were at OPHS, I wasn’t cool enough, confident enough, talented enough, thin enough, worthy enough, to get to know very many of my classmates."
In general, I enjoyed my high school days. I was part of a close group of friends. I played in the marching band, the dance band, and the pep band. I took advanced classes. I was a class officer and was involved in many class activities. I always had a car. I had a girlfriend. I was accepted to the college I wanted to attend. I had a great mask.
Sounds like a good time. And yet, I can leaf through the pages of my yearbook and see the faces of all the kids who I didn’t really know. The “popular” kids were unapproachable, out of my league. The “jocks” would see me as a fat kid who could do nothing athletic. The “greasers” would see me as an uncool nerd. And the beat goes on. I suppose that many people have similar memories and feelings. I know that my post elicited a number of similar responses. As teenagers, most of us had insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. We all had to find our way through the complicated teenage years and most of us probably would not want to relive them.
But, what was most interesting to me were the comments I received expressing surprise that I felt this way. Some people told me how smart I was, how funny I was, how cool I was, how talented I was, how nice I was. One person commented that he would have never had any idea that I felt this way if I hadn’t said anything.
That’s the point. I had a great mask.
Masquerade! Hide your face so the world will never find you.
P.S. Fast forward to today.
I wrote this blog several years ago and I've become comfortable with the fact that I don't need to hide beyond a mask anymore, well, except for COVID-19. I have become confident in myself and who I am as a person. I don't put people on pedestals anymore. Hiding beyond my mask kept me in a self-imposed exile. Safe, but often alone. Existing, but not enjoying life. Getting by, but not thriving.
The mask is gone.
As The Who once sang, "Can You See the Real Me?"
Yes, you can.
Author: Robert, living with depression and cybersex addiction