“No one cared who I was, until I put on the mask…” -Bane
Just 12 words… Loaded.
I was watching the latest installment of the “Batman: Dark Knight” movie franchise, and this quote really lingered with me… So much so that I couldn’t enjoy the rest of the movie because of my thought processes over it.
This phrase spoke volumes of humanity, but especially, the Nice Guy in all of us.
We all become someone else for the sake of someone else at the expense of losing ourselves. Society being what it is, is constantly telling us that we are not good enough.
We are constantly told to be ourselves, and then in the very next breath they bombard us with sales pitches for useless baubles that we don’t need, and somehow, they convince us that “this” is what we can buy to become “good enough”. These “masks” we purchase at the risk of losing our true selves, the person we were born to be, make us complacent and shield us from the responsibility of our own actions.
The problem with masks and the nice guy, is we know we use them, and it kills us a little bit inside, every time we use it. We become use to the power of being whoever you need us to be. It’s intoxicating, because we (the nice guys) have been made to believe that you wouldn’t care for us otherwise. Your actions prove that. Our services are only good when we don the mask necessary for your purpose.
When you need a friend to just be there and listen, we put on the mask that has no mouth.
When you need a friend to just be there, we put on the stalwart mask, one void of emotion. This mask is without eyes, so we are blinded to what’s really going on, it has no mouth, so no judgement can be passed and has only one ear where the forehead would be, symbolizing that we are only listening to you. We refuse the ability to listen to others laying rumors about you and your true intention of using us.
When you need someone to hurt with you… The mask we wear, is a reflective surface, it reflects your agony and shows it to you, we absorb your pain and a section of our souls that we have allowed to care for you is destroyed just like we were going through the pain with you… Because we are. The emotion is real. Our heart cries with you, we can’t help it, it’s what the nice guys do.
I could go on for days about the different masks, but there is no need, because you know what I’m talking about… And if you say you don’t, you’re lying to yourself, and that’s not healthy.
We are not like other people who hide behind scar tissue and buried emotion. People who don’t know how to deal with emotion. Every nice guy has mastered at least one emotion, and from that, spans a certain control over other emotions. “How?” you ask? We are better equipped for handling our emotions because for as long as we remember, all we’ve been dealing with, is OTHER people’s emotion. We analyze it, we feel it, we put our minds through your hell, because we think that in order to be able to help you, and to keep this warped definition of friendship intact (because that’s the only time you talk to us) “I have to”.
The thing about masks is, when you keep having to wear one for the company you keep, you become accustomed to wearing it. Wearing a mask hides who you really are… that’s why they exist, but when you don’t even recognize yourself… That’s a problem.
You become engrossed in your own “legend” so to speak. You become intoxicated with the drug of power in helping people cope emotionally, that instead of just wearing the mask, you begin fitting your personality to it.
Being who people need you to be is a detriment to who you really are. If who you really are is not good enough for the people that you choose to associate with, then it is time to make new associations.
Trust me, I know that it’s hard to let go of the ties that you have, especially when you have emotionally connected with them. You’ve hurt for them, you’ve helped them through hard times and you feel that they are your real friends, But let me ask you something.
Be honest… How many of those same “real” friends would answer your phone calls or texts at all hours of the night and morning when they got to be at work in 2 hours? How many of them would sacrifice the same things you’ve sacrificed for them, in order to help you through something that you’ve been struggling with? I know the answer you want to believe, But I also know the truth, and so do you… Trust me, I get it. That’s the Mind of a Nice Guy.
We all wear masks, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, because at one point, we all believed that No one cared about us until we put it on.
Life is hard enough being yourself, dealing with your own problems and keeping your own emotions in check… Losing yourself in other people’s problems and emotional strains, is not worth it when they wouldn’t do the same.
I’m not saying don’t be there for those you care about… I’m saying be there for them as you were meant to be. Be there as You. No mask.
Life is balance. Find yours.