Masked Up

“Take off that mask you are wearing and stop pretending to be a person you are not, just to please others.”

                                                                                                                             – Vighnesh Shenoy

What do you want to be when you grow up?

This is a question that each one of us must have been asked at some point in our lives. As kids, our replies may have been along the lines of a cricketer, pilot, singer, or maybe even an engineer.

Somewhere along the way, we accidentally manage to pick up another profession as well – acting.

I mean, that’s what we are, aren’t we? Actors acting out this elaborate facade that is our lives. We go about our daily routines putting on various masks, and masquerading as this person we are not. We have put on this veil, or kind of a barrier, that hides our real selves from the outside world.  

Why do we do this? Why do feel the need to pretend to be somebody else? Is it because we feel that our real self isn’t worthy enough of being shown to others, or that there is something inherently wrong with the way we are that makes us feel ashamed of ourselves?

Right from our childhood, we have been conditioned by the society to think and act in a certain way. A way that it deems fit for us. It sets up these rules, and guidelines telling us how to live our lives, dictating them. To give an idea, as a woman, you are expected to behave in a certain manner. You are expected to act like a lady, and that you follow a certain dress code. From a young age, you have been told that you require make-up to even have a shot at being considered beautiful. The men may have it a bit easier, but it’s not that great for us either. As a man, you are inherently expected to be tough and masculine, to not be sensitive or cry.  That guy with the long hair is thought of as an unambitious person incapable of achieving anything worthwhile, or that only girls who are easy wear short clothes. For heaven’s sake, you even get judged for wearing pink if you are a man.

At every step of our lives, we hear the phrase “Just be yourself” being thrown at us. Kind of ironical, isn’t it? Considering that any attempt at actually following it is shot down by scrutiny and judgment from the society. The few people who try to rebel and live a life of their own accord are looked down upon as obstacles deterring the society from achieving apparent perfection. They are abused and shamed upon, made to feel insecure about themselves. Not wanting that to happen, we give in. Sooner or later, we give in to these shackles that the society puts on us, to their rules. Once inside these shackles, any resistance left inside of us withers away slowly with each passing moment. It withers away until we stop believing in the very ideals that we lived by once upon a time, and start believing in the ones imposed upon us by others, ultimately feeding this never ending loop.

Is the society right in dictating our lives this way? Are they right for making people feel bad about themselves for being different than what they see fit?


You see, that’s the beauty of us humans. Each one of us is different and capable of thinking for ourselves.  It does not mean that we are wrong for being different, but just that we are unique.

You do not become any less worthy because of the type of clothes you wear, makeup, or the lack of it. It doesn’t make you any less of a man if you cry or act sensitively.    

We live in a free civilization, a civilization where each one of us has the right to express our way of living (provided it doesn’t become an inconvenience to anybody else).  So, embrace the things that you do differently instead of being ashamed of them. Stop faulting yourselves for not necessarily following the guidelines set by the society. If you like to wear makeup as a girl (or a boy for that matter), fine, wear it.  If you like wearing pink shirts as a guy, go frickin’ wear them.

Stop giving into these edicts set by others. As long as you like what you are doing, it doesn’t matter what others think. Take off that mask you are wearing and stop pretending to be a person you are not, just to please others. And, most importantly (I am going to say those clichéd words you hear often)…

Just be yourself.


Cover Designed By Lakshmi Bayanagari

Article By Vighnesh Shenoy


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