Tuesday, March 23, 2010

We are so accustomed to disguising ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves

[Picture cedit: weheartit]

I came across this quote by François Duc de La Rochefoucauld on my nokia mobile quotes and I love it a lot. It made me ponder.

Don't we all disguise ourselves at one time or another?

Donning a mask, we mask ourselves from others.

Putting a face upon our face, we assume another identity, conceal our true emotions and overcome our insecurities.

Sometimes the mask we put on contrasts with our inner state, our character, our true identity. It does not fit and at the end of the day, we remove them and our true self emerges once again.

[Picture cedit: klopp via weheartit]

At other times, the mask grows into us and we grow into our mask, becoming all but one entity. We struggle to peel off that mask but it has become a part of our identity. This time, are we still masking ourselves from others or have we truly masked ourselves from ourselves? The mask becomes us as we become our mask.

Disguising ourselves, we slowly become our own disguise.

[Picture cedit: elle, flickr]

Stripped of all our masks, does one true mask remain? Or is the one true mask the multiplicity of masks that we put on?

We wear layers of masks so often that if one is removed, the true self is not found directly beneath. It is just another mask. Yet it is necessary to wear masks and disguise ourselves every day.

I change and form myself around different groups of people. I believe many of us do that too. People always tell me how genuine I am, how certain behaviours, acts and mannerism are just so me but the truth is I'm never 100% myself. Nevertheless, I always keep a little of my base personality involved -- the true face beneath the many masks.

[Picture credit: Audrey Kawasaki]

On the other hand, does being different with different groups of people necessarily equate to putting on different masks just because I open up different aspects of my personality among different people? I could probably be masking certain characteristics to tune in to the situation accordingly.

I find that I've been changing a lot, acting the charade and being the chameleon. Yet friends who haven't seen me for a long time would always exclaim that I'm still the same old Jolene. On the other side of the plane, friends who are always in contact with me could out of the blue tell me that I've changed whether for the better or the worse and that I don't used to be like that.

There are times when I don't really know myself. As a true Gemini, I encompass so many opposing traits.

The melancholic sanguine.

The uninspired artist.

The wordless writer.

The reserved extrovert.

The smiley grouch.

The plucky wimp.

The frugal spendthrift.

Two counters of contradictory extremes displayed on a single bar. The single bar representing myself. I try to bring the two counters closer to each other, slide them towards the middle. However, there is no way of integrating this duality. I seek to search for my identity but I found myself lost in my SELF.

Most people search to be found. I searched only to be lost. Is the confused self who I really am?

[Picture cedit: ohbabyitsnatalie via weheartit]

And then I read Carl E. Pickhardt which helped me shed some light.

Whatever outward mask I choose to wear only affirms some inward part of me.

I don't have to bother about which part is masking which and which side I shoud trust.

I don't have to be bothered about being dsguised to myself.

Because a mask worn on the outside can actually encourage my inner self to come out.

People change over time and who we are is not something that can be cast in stone. We are the sum of our experiences -- the multiplicity of masks that we put on.


  1. hey, this post of yours really made me think alot.

    many times, i have to mask and cannot be myself, just so that i can please people, until to a point it gets tiring.

  2. B.R.I.L.L.I.A.N.T! This is a thought provoking piece.

    With no choice left I have to put on my mask everyday. Smile and greet every customer even if I'm feeling tired or upset. I cannot possibly show my true face or feelings at work.

  3. citrella,

    I agree that we all have to wear mask just coz the world has expectations, society has expectations and people have expectations of us. We can't always be ourselves if we want to be kind to others or to please others or to live up to other's expectations. I guess the key is knowing the limit and how to balance coz it gets tiring not to be ourselves always.

    You must be a really nice and tolerant lady in real life. =)

  4. Anon,

    I reckon you must be in the service line. Putting on a mask is inevitable in this line. You can't possibly wear your heart on your sleeves after having a rough day while greeting customers with a frown. But you know what? A mask can also work from the outside in. Smiling stimulates the brain to think happy and positive thoughts and then it'll start to mend from the inside out. I dunno if I make any sense here but I've experienced its workings quite a few times.

  5. to my bestie...

    because of who u r, i never had to put a mask in front of you. so you never have to do that too.

    so show some raw skin now. ha ha.

    and you think i am going to go all soap drama....

    forever timezone girl

  6. bestie/ forever timezone girl,

    Haha... well u saw my bare naked face- stripped off all masks, all face paints, all make up... to the very last skin till can strip no more. So raw and still must strip. Haha... Can't imagine having to do that every week.

    Don't ever wear a mask in front of me too.

    And for the umpteenth time, don't post as "anonymous"!

    the philosophical bimbo
    (just another dichotomy thanx to u)

  7. those masks are so fun! :) I've ALWAYS wanted to go to a masquerade party. One day, one day haha.

    Have a beautiful weekend! <3

  8. beautiful post...i agree that some form of yourself always shows through the mask that you need to for that moment of the day but you do need to wear "multiple masks."

    Example - I am bubbly and professional at work because I'm in that kind of environment where I have to be but with my friends...i'm less professional of course but i'm still...bubbly.

    The 'core' being of yourself doesn't change even if you have to act a different way sometimes. Just as long as you're not ever being FAKE.

  9. Wow, this post spoke right to my heart. It is often easy to slip on a mask when with others, and even with ourselves it is hard to be completely true.


    PS. amazing photos!

  10. Wow...[jaws drop] I have never doubt why i am not good in English. LOL ^^

  11. I am very grateful for your comments on my blogs. But the content of my ideas are pea-sized compared to your insightful thoughts on life. The way you presented the symbolic nature of a mask was brilliant. We all have masks, but we all manage to be unique in our own ways because we always have the choice on which mask to wear.

  12. Taken from one of my (secret) blog entries:

    'The world more often rewards signs of merit than merit itself.' ~~ La Rochefoucauld

  13. as much as i hate "masked people", we all need "masks" for survival.. i mean u know even in the simplest situtation like meeting grandparents, you'll have to put on that mask where u'll have to filter your words, filter the tight tank tops we usually wear, etc..

    but it all comes back to the person you are ! if you're using the mask for good, then its alright :D

    great postttt !
    thank you for the comments in my blog ..
    visit - follow - comment me back at..
    glisters and blisters

  14. christine ◘ tie me a bow,

    Thanx for dropping by. =) Masquerade masks are mysteriously beautiful.

  15. Amy,

    I agree with your last sentence:
    "The 'core' being of yourself doesn't change even if you have to act a different way sometimes. Just as long as you're not ever being FAKE."

    I realised that when people are fake, we would accuse them of putting on a mask. Yet everyone has to put on masks still. It all depends on the people you are with and the situation. And as long as we are not being too fake or as long as our core being is inherently good, we can go all out and put on that mask when the situation calls for it.

  16. Stace,

    In cases when it is hard to be completely true even to ourselves, I'll always say go with our hearts.

    I wish I'd such great photos. Thanx for dropping by. =)

  17. Chocho,

    Do you understand the quote more after reading this or have I made you even more confused? Heh... Your English is fine la. =D

  18. Gookie,

    Your content is definitely not pea-sized at all. I really love your post on epiphany! I think I might just seek your permission to quote your epiphany story some day.

  19. iceman,

    Wah! You have secret blog ever share. No good la you. Hmmph!

  20. michelle,

    Thanx for leaving a mark here. I might help spread the peta fur video if I manage to do a post on it.

    Yes I agree with you about wearing masks even in the simplest situation. It is inevitable. If we don't wear mask when the situation calls for it and instead reveal our true feelings, it's not being respectful or PR.

  21. Copied & pasted from tagboard for remembrance:

    27 Mar 10, 00:21
    Curious: Haha, no more pics of urslf cos u are F A T...?!

    30 Mar 10, 02:03
    Jo to Curious (27 Mar): Haha! If u r my fren, I'm laughing WITH u. But I reckon u r not & so I'm laughing AT u. Fancy riding on the name of others. Do u know it's q clear tt u're nt e same "Curious"?

    30 Mar 10, 13:36
    Curious: i really dun care which P i use so dun tink u R so smart to "catch" me! Haha!
    30 Mar 10, 13:38
    JO: Btw, i nvr try to hide my ID so any i can use any P i dun care.

    Author decided not to reply to this imbecile.


    28 Mar 10, 13:52
    dutch apple: If Jo is fat, there must be thousands of people out there paying millions to be F.A.T. and FYI, she is as far away from fat as Holland is away from Singapore.

    30 Mar 10, 02:06
    Jo to dutch apple: Hey apple. Apple. Hey apple! As far as Holland from Singapore. U're so funny la u dutch apple.


    29 Mar 10, 22:32
    Curious: lol.. You are so cute and funny to talk like that about yourself. Sorry I didnt mean it but I really thought you might be pregnant. Btw the most recent Curious is not me! Don't be mistaken k?
    29 Mar 10, 22:40
    Curious: What you say about masks is very true. It makes me ponder too. Sometimes I put on mask to let people believe I'm certain character and I become that character after some time. Do you experience that?

    30 Mar 10, 02:12
    Jo to Curious (29 Mar): U prob have to start using another pseudonym coz someone is riding on ur name. Ha.. I alr knew it's nt e same person b4 u clarified. I'm not offended of coz. I'm hard to get angry. Well but ur tag
    30 Mar 10, 02:14
    Jo to Curious (29 Mar): really made me do 100 sit ups... but only for tt nite. Yup I exp tt. It's like wat I wrote. The outer mask encourging the inner mask to come out. Glad someone feels e same way as I do.


    31 Mar 10, 00:27
    Reg to Jo: Wow..looks like someone here has nothing better to do! I love your post on masks!

    1 Apr 10, 22:20
    Jo to Reg: Heh.. yeah. An idle mind is the devil's workshop. Let's talk about some other lovely things like how great the dinner was yesterday.


    31 Mar 10, 13:06
    Kezel: Some pple who alwiz sound like the SAME pole, really hav nothing better to do. Remember, if u hav connections, everything is traceable... Eg. Foryce...
    31 Mar 10, 13:15
    Kezel: *pole - pple, Foryce - Foyce.. Typo.. Oops

    1 Apr 10, 22:22
    Jo to Kezel: LOL. Yup. Some being still believe it's all about tracking IP @ but we all know better right?


  22. Sometimes I think I might know people on-line better than people I see all the time--because of the masks. Although for some people, becoming their mask might be a god thing. Great post.

  23. Rick! Are you serious?! I was stumped when I saw a new comment for this 2010 post. Haha... Luckily I get comment notification for my older posts too or I would have missed out on this. Actually I kinda agree with you too, about having better people online at times and also people becoming their masks being a good thing.

  24. Just to say - well done. Well written, to the point, effective, real and clear. Thank you

  25. Anon,
    I do hope you could leave a pseudonym. I really appreciate the fact that you took the time to leave me a note. Thank you. =)


I love reading sincere comments and hearing your voice. While blatant self promotion of blogs and follow for follow requests are not advisable, I would love if you leave a mark here with a trackback link so that I could connect with you. I reply to comments here or on your blog so don't forget to check back on replies! =)


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