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Masks and Faces

I was driving my friend home from a party we both went to, and she told me that based on my carefree disposition she never would have guessed I was feeling subdued and troubled until I told her what was bothering me.  Eventually she asked, “would you consider this situation as acting ‘fake’?” This took a while to think about.  What does acting “fake” actually mean?

Every personality is a multi-faceted, ever-changing part of ourselves. We show our different sides to others that share similar traits.  Oftentimes acting “fake” is characterized by the exhibition of polar opposite traits, such as acting refined amongst one group and acting vulgar with another. This is simply not true.  We should be allowed to express our innermost thoughts and actions -- individuality stems from this principle.

Fakeness is a mask. Fake people wear others’ faces and not their own. To be fake is to pretend you like or dislike things to appear “cool.” Even worse so, to be fake is to compromise your morals to seek approval from others. And ultimately, to be fake is to lie to yourself on the most intimate level.

When my friend asked if I considered my pretense of happiness “acting fake,” I truthfully said no.  I was pushing my unhappiness down out of consideration for my beautiful party-hosting friend who deserved the best night, full of laughter and an all-around good time.  Moreover, I wasn’t lying by having a good time, despite not being in the mood. I simply turned my personality to a different, happier face that I wanted to show at that time. And that’s alright. It’s alright to show your different faces at different times.  Just like how people wear makeup to feel empowered, you can put on a brave face, a goofy smile, or a vulnerable tear whenever you choose to.

The only catch? Never put on a face that isn’t yours.


Candice Leung is a novice writer and fine artist who is fascinated with psychology and human behavior. She forms her own philosophies about complex and subjective ideas through late-night journal entries and contemporary painting.

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