In my goals for 2015 post, the last item on the list was finding myself. Who am I? How much have I changed? How much have I stayed the same? Those are potent questions. Questions that I think everyone is asking about them selves. Questions that I’m not sure anyone is able to answer. No one but yourself, that is. And it all comes down to masks.
Everyone wears masks whether they want to or not. Society demands it and has created it as a norm. People have a need to fit in with those around them and that causes them to wear masks in everyday life. But you aren’t only limited to one mask to wear, but many different ones. I guarantee that you are not the same person at work that you are outside of it. And you can break that down even farther. You are not the same person around your friends that you are around your family.
I, for example, am not the same person when working at the pub as I am when I am at work for the government. And I’m not the same person around my friends that I am around my family. And none of that matches who I am in uncomfortable and unfamiliar circumstances. Maybe that’s why I booked a trip to Spain, an subconscious effort to find who I am at my core. But, bringing this all back to the ‘who am I’ question, how can you honestly figure out who you are if you are different around every separate group of people you interact with?
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that people are COMPLETELY different. That would be a mental health issue. What I mean is that someone acts differently when in certain situations or around certain groups of people, but at the CORE are still the same. But a core doesn’t define wholly who you are. And that makes finding yourself even more difficult than it already is. You need to find a constant, your core, and grow out from there. For example, part of my identity (at my core) is Star Wars and Comic Books. That is a constant for me and part of the definition of who I am, but it’s not the full me.
Related, though slightly separate, is literal masks and costumes. I go to the Calgary and Edmonton Expo's every year. And every year there are literally hundreds of cosplayers. When I am cosplaying my Jedi at the Expo, I must admit that I feel more confident than I do in my everyday life. But is that really me? The ability to fully be myself with no judgment or repercussions, or is that just another mask that I put on?
It’s an interesting philosophical issue. And one that I’m not sure can be explained, only debated. It’s food for thought. And I’m curious: Who are YOU? How are you different around different groups of people?