“To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.”
I absolutely hate it when someone tells you that everything happens for a reason. (And when someone tells you that you’ve chosen your parents, but that’s another story).
Yes, it’s true that the obstacles, the trauma you went through made you who you are. Yes, it’s true that those formative experiences may have made you stronger. But that doesn’t make them okay.
You were hurt. You have a right to be angry.
You have a right to be angry because we live in a modern society that’s pretty twisted.
We live in a world dominated by screens and unattainable “norms” of perfection where communication has reduced itself to the tapping of keys on a keyboard (or smartphone, whichever you prefer). It’s hard to be yourself amidst all that chaos.
Being yourself is hard. Society tells you one thing. At schools, the maze of cliques is a jungle in itself. And then there are the things you don’t see.
In my case, it was the tension caused by the contradictory East-West dichotomy. I conformed because it was the only way I knew how to survive. But rather than helping me survive, that conformity led to the one place I didn’t want to be.
I won’t go into the details here; you’ve heard me tell that story before.
We are all human. Words hurt. We can pretend that we’re fine when we’re really dying. We can project the image of being someone with no filter who doesn’t waste their brain or breath on something (or someone) at the edge of their peripheral vision.
But sometimes when the mask comes off we do care.
Some would say that the role play, the constant switching from role to role depending on who you’re with isn’t authentic.
My response is to read between the lines, because you may only know one side of a particular person.
Becoming yourself (and staying yourself) amid all those voices saying no, do this, do that is confusing. It’s painful. And it’s easier to conform than it is to stick out. Because going against the flow takes a lot of strength.
So the next time you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, remember that you aren’t alone. Everyone has issues, even the people you consider “flawless.”
We’re all just trying to be ourselves in a big, confusing world.
And that’s hard enough.
Image Credit: Pinterest
4 thoughts on “The Truth Behind The Mask”
Ugh, I hate “everything happens for a reason” too, and that whole culture of positivity vs. reality. Reality can be ugly, but that’s not a good reason to sugarcoat it. Maybe in hindsight you’ll be able to see where it led you, how it changed you, but in the moment, it’s just a useless platitude.
Thanks for joining my culture series, btw. Also, it’s so interesting to connect with other [Asian, Asian-American, American Asian, etc] bloggers and learn about their experiences.
Great to connect! I’m looking forward to contributing and connecting with the other bloggers on your culture series!
Yes, those are my thoughts exactly about the entire “everything happens for a reason” thing.
Love you blog! I’m debating teaching English abroad, so I may come back to you with questions, if you don’t mind!
Love connecting with other Asian American bloggers. I’m definitely planning on beginning to incorporate more posts about my experience and see how I can twist it so other people can learn and relate to what I write.
No problem, just email me if you have any questions! I’ve only taught in China and Korea, but I could refer you to people who taught in Japan or Thailand.