ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: The Man Behind Many Masks

People these days do everything they can to fit in, even if it means suppressing the real them.

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ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: The Man Behind Many Masks

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Fitting in can be difficult depending on where someone is and who they are surrounded with in a certain situation. One’s behavior can change throughout the day because of the different situations that they may find themselves in; while most people try to conform to their environment, some might find it best for them to never change themselves. People are so afraid that they choose to not be themselves. They think they are too much to handle, too boring to care about, but some lose their identity and purpose when they aren’t the center of attention. For freshman Ethan Lax, he feels like he has nobody to impress and he can always be himself.

“I’m always going to be the best me I can be,” Lax said. “I think I’m funny and have good comical humor.”

Why do teens act differently at school than at home? Or at a job? It is a question that is commonly asked, but doesn’t really have one set solution. Some may have a hard time opening up to new people and choose to put up a wall, and others might be striving for attention and will do anything to get it. Whatever the case may be, people oftentimes will change their persona in hopes of fitting in to these new environments. It can be easier for one to adjust to the environment rather than standing out amongst the rest.

Imagine the first day of high school: everything is new. The halls students walk and the people they see and interact with are all new to them. They might have some friends in a class or two, but for the most part, it is a fresh start. While this new beginning may seem scary for some, it can be an opportunity to change an identity. Even though this is commonly seen throughout high school, this is an experience that many will have to face throughout their life. A new place is the opportunity to start fresh. Instead of being the person they were in middle school, they will most likely conform to the new environment they are in at that time.

“The transition [into high school] was very easy for me because Emmons prepared us educationally,” Lax said. “I was involved in the community and sports beforehand.”

Comfort is everything. The human mind needs a sense of comfort to open up. It’s like the body. When joints are cold, they are super stiff and hard to move; on the other hand, when the body is warm, joints are loose and quick. Someone’s personality works in the same way. Just like one has to stretch to get their joints warm, the mind needs time and exposure to open up.  Some people might not ever feel comfortable enough to open up and they can be stand-offish. For freshman Devin Conway, he tries to keep his emotions bottled up inside.

“I try to be nice, but I’m very short tempered,” Conway said.

Conway never wants to intentionally hurt anyone, but because he is short tempered, he chooses to keep to himself rather than interacting with his surroundings. At home, Conway is more open to conversation because he is in a safe environment. He knows his boundaries at home and doesn’t feel judged for who he is or how he acts.

Another reason people can change their behavior depending on their surrounding is due to their level of respect they have for others. Some make the case that they have to live two lives. No matter what someone tries, they will always be different at school or at work than one is at home. A house is seen as the central hub for someone’s life; it’s where they are most comfortable. When one is to seek other locations and adventures, they will hold a different level of respect for the people they are surrounded by.

“When I’m at home I’m a lot less filtered,” senior Iain Smith said. “I don’t want people to feel that I think I’m above them [at school, therefore,] I alter my speech [to the people I talk to].”

Smith has a certain respect while at home because he feels his views align with his family’s, whereas at school his peers may disagree. The way he talks also reflects his appreciation for people. At home, Smith gets respect from his family by using sophisticated language. He is more professional with his elders than he would be talking to his peers. He feels, to get respect, one must also give respect.

Everyone has their reason as to why they hide who they really are in public compared to who they are at home. For the most part, people wear masks to hide who they truly are. Some might not ever show their true identity, and therefore will never be able to make a unique name for themselves. If people never find the confidence to be themselves, then society will never give them a chance to be considered accepted. Being original is the new trend and people should start showing their true identity. Hiding behind a shadow doesn’t do one any favors; instead, one should start shining their own light.

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