I've recently encountered several young people who reminded me of this time in my life. On the outside they were courteous, and each time I asked one of them what was wrong...the answer was nothing, I'm fine with a contrived smile.They all wore the same mask. However as I looked deep into their eyes, I could see the turmoil, pain and the helplessness they were hiding. When I examined their personal lives, I saw the acts of rebellion that signaled that there was something deeper going on. Baggage! Filled with mental illness, domestic and environmental issues, peer and educational pressures, puberty, and sexuality...etc. They have all of this baggage weighing them down, causing them to feel isolated and most of all affecting their perception of self.
The purpose of the mask is to portray to your peers, family, friends, the world that you are "normal". Guess what I've learned... no one is normal! There is no such thing. We all have our individual struggles, pain, regrets, secrets and because of that most people wear a mask. I think once we realize this fact, it lessens some of the pressure we put on ourselves; which then enables us to work on improving the inside so that it can match what we portray on the outside.