Regardless of the human psyche, feelings, identities, and emotions, society overwhelming fits its people into predestined molds, shaped and constructed over long periods of time. While all individuals have their own notions of what is “correct” and “normal,” there is not and will never be a manual for living. Opinions are often based on a belief system crafted by the individual and their surrounding influences, and it is important to take into account that people are flawed beings who thrive primarily on their perception of themselves as well as how they are perceived by the individuals around them. The ego is a powerful weapon that can create or destroy depending on how it is used by the individual. Paul Laurence Dunbar’s We Wear the Mask expressed the notion that we all must protect ourselves by promoting a specific outward appearance to the world around us, whether it be joy in the face of adversity, a new identity, or a skewed perception of what is expected in the human experience. Taking the mask off may very well be the most harrowing experience we face as vulnerable beings. While I fight so hard to be accepted and do what is right for all people, I have a hesitancy toward being complacent in my view of the world around me. I use the removal of my personal mask to bring about raw honesty in my writing and exploration of my innermost thoughts.
The twenty-first century is a strange place to grow up in. Born on the cusp of entering the 2000s, at the height of the Y2K