If you’ve been anywhere near the Google homepage or used anything even remotely close to Google recently, you may have noticed that it’s typeface has changed. What that means is basically their logo changed. (begin sarcasm) Big “whoop”, I know (end sarcasm). This change in font but lack of change in format got me thinking, as most mundane things do. Google is very much like us, at least it’s very much like me. What? Stay with me, I’ll try my hardest to put my thoughts into words. How do I possibly relate my life, all of our lives, both beautiful and intricate, to the inner workings of a search engine?
Google’s face-change got me thinking, how many times have I, around different people, worn different faces? How many times have I been one way around my friends from college, and another way around my old friends from high school? Acting one way around our parents, and another around our teachers. The whole time, throughout our whole lives, we wear these thalia masks, or drama masks, to different people. Masks that tell one person we are a free spirit and another that we are in need of help. We wear so many masks, even we get confused to who we truly are. I am reminded of a quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne in “The Scarlet Letter” which says, “No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and the other to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true.”
How sad is it to think that, in a desperate attempt to make ourselves desirable to others, we get lost in the lies and forget who we really are. The reason this reminds me of Google though is that, even though it’s face may have changed, the basic concept is the same. It is still merely a search engine, albeit a very innovative one. Isn’t this reminiscent of how we, as humans, are? We wear these masks to ourselves and to others, getting lost in the mystery we are creating, while our true selves, deep down, stay the same, hoping, waiting for us to realize that we are not what we are trying so desperately to portray ourselves as.
We live in a world where we are told, even encouraged, to be ourselves, but when we make the slightest move outside of the norm, we are shunned, shamed, beaten down, teased, mocked, and pushed aside. Keeping up the façade is a part of who we are told to be, it is what is ingrained in our lives. Practically since birth we are told that, if we want people to like us, we have to smile, keep our chins up, and be likable. If we don’t follow that advice, we are left on the outside. We can see it in those who are dubbed, unfortunately, “the social outcasts”. These are the people who don’t want to follow the norm, the people who want to be themselves.
I think it is terrible, the pressure to constantly do well in the eyes of everyone else. We are human. We fail, we all do. As JK Rowling says, “it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
So what is my response to this pandemic that is sweeping, and has swept the human race since the beginning of time? I say be yourself. Ignore those who hide behind their thalia masks and hurl insults at the few who have enough courage to take these masks off. Stay true to yourself because, in the end, you can be either your best friend or your worst enemy.
I have never met someone who, upon first interaction, has told me something about themselves that is deeply personal, and this is partly due to the fact that they don’t want to be judged by me. It is human nature, to want to be liked, I don’t argue with that. There is nothing wrong with being liked at all. But I ask you, to what extent are you willing to give up your soul, give up parts of who you really are, how far are you willing to lose your true self in order to be liked?
I want to leave you this Friday with a quote from what is inarguably my favorite TV show, One Tree Hill. It says, in response to the increasing pressure on us as humans to be liked, “Don’t be too fat, or too thin, or too dark, or too light. Don’t be too sexual or too chaste or too smart or too dumb. Be yourself, but make sure you fit in.”