Finding out what hides beneath

The Stress Free Tips: For mental hygiene and wellness

Daulton James Jones

Daulton James Jones

Daulton James Jones, Reporter

I want to start this off by telling you all that you are enough, no matter what anyone tells you. You are enough. So often we walk around in a dull haze just living life without acknowledging the fact that we are enough.  We don’t have to create a persona to hide behind just to go through life.

Theater Masks are basically personas of ourselves that we have created, so that we can be accepted and well received from the world around us. Most people can admit that at least during their childhood to young adult period they were affected by this need to be accepted. I know I was.

During my childhood I grew up as a nice, well-mannered child who other parents wish their kids acted like. Of course, I’m just a well-mannered person, but when I was younger I slapped it on even more in front of people just so that my parents would be proud of me. I love my parents, and like most parents they had stress of their own to worry about, so if me acting like a perfect angel could make them less stressed and happier, I did it.

This eventually led to me being shunned by the other kids. I’m a pretty observant person, so I developed another mask so that people around me would accept me. I wanted so badly to be a cool kid, or at least to come off as someone other kids liked. I saw that everyone else was loud, talkative, extroverted. Whereas naturally I’m more mellow, but I straddle the line between intro and extrovert the more I get to know people. Sadly, who I was or understood myself to be at that age wasn’t going to cut it, so at school I had to act like I was one of these kids who was just too cool for school.

This was fun at first because for years of following this decision to act like someone else, I enjoyed the benefits. I had more friends, people talked to me, and recess and lunch period were always lit. The problem was that, over time, the mask that I created and who I truly was were conflicting. The ways that I had been acting all these years did not align with the beliefs that I hold about myself. I had used this mask so much that I sort of became it, and that wasn’t its original purpose. It was solely to protect me, so I could survive school. When you’re younger, being an alternative thinker often doesn’t work.

Once I came to this realization in sophomore year of high school, I tried getting myself back to who I truly am. Today, I feel like I’m back. I am me again. I realized that the need I felt to belong was obviously something that not only I dealt with, but everyone around me. We were all wearing these masks that weren’t necessary whatsoever.

Now I’m thankful my mind works the way it does. I look how I look, and I am who I am. These masks we have conditioned ourselves to wear aren’t necessary or healthy, because we are enough regardless of if two or three don’t understand us. And by realizing that, you are welcoming so many others who will embrace you for being you.