Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

The Mask This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
   All through my life I told myself to do everything in my power to hide the real me. And I was good at it too. Throughout middle school I lacked a lot of friends, and the few I did have were as lost as I was. Why am I bringing this up? Because the older I get the easier it is to look at all the dumb things that I did to hide who I was. It ranged from acting like I didn't care when my parents and teachers yelled, to when I got turned down by some girl. It was all about not caring and thinking I had the upper hand.

I see a lot of kids like this every day. Some of them are people who I know well and some are complete strangers. Or both.

Maybe it's not my problem if some kid is putting on a mask and acting like a typical 15-year-old. Some of us could get to be 40 and we'll still be holding that mask up to our faces and all could be well. But it's a problem when the kid is drinking or getting "cooked" every day after school and he's trying to drag you along with him. Being older than most kids in my school, it's hard to show them the hurt they're causing themselves and their futures. You usually don't see something bad until you're up to your eyeballs, and even then, it's hard to admit you made a mistake. Sometimes I knew I was doing bad things, but I was so hurt by what I thought was one of life's raw deals. I see myself as lucky for not having made fatal mistakes. Some of the people I ran into and became friends with made fatal mistakes.

When I first started thinking about how lucky I was, I didn't understand it. Was I really lucky to talk to someone and two hours later find out they killed themselves?

Was it luck for me to still be standing in this delicious sunshine wondering (obsessing) about why it wasn't me?

But then I realized it wasn't just about me. I saw something for the first time that didn't pertain to that selfish word, Me. I was still alive and I could look around and see other people tripping at the same exact spot and I would try to help them. It wasn't my luck. It was their luck. All of these lost souls are the ones who benefit. They can benefit from what I think and what I've seen. My mask slipped off when I met people I loved. I realized that for them to understand me and care for me I had to look inside myself and show them what I thought, what I wanted. That the things I did hurt people, and that I was capable of hurting just as much. Or more even.

Maybe I can't convince everyone what the right way is. That's a personal matter. Maybe I can't get someone to forgive me if I've done wrong, or to accept someone for who they are. But the best and only thing I can do is try; to realize that I'm not perfect or completely mature. Once I do this people can watch and think, is there really someone behind my mask, or is my mask the only face I've got?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback