I was a tiny five year-old with big, blue-green eyes, curly blonde hair and freckles. I was obnoxious beyond belief. I rolled my eyes at my teachers; I would fake meltdowns when I became bored in class. I am pretty sure I even escaped the school a few times. I was nothing like my teachers expected me to be.
I’ve known people who have been labeled as lost-causes and vagrants without a second thought. These titles were based on the decisions their parents had made; there was nothing they did to deserve them. I know people who act stoic and tough when they feel that showing how they feel, or who they are isn’t good enough. They hide themselves beneath the layers of what they think people want to see.
A friend of mine was shipped off to military school for something he says he had no part in. I met him a few months after he got back. We talked about so many things, but what I noticed was we would talk about my family, but never his. Though this subject never came up, he talked non-stop about his experiences in military school. Plenty of the stories were ones to make me laugh, “We had this cliff type thing by the school, and there was the one kid, a really fat kid…” But once the story was over, and the conversation had ended, his mask would fall and if you watched you would see how he really felt. He was a tall, muscular guy with a hard face; he seemed to have a personality that matched his build. He could be rude and he could scare you to the point where you had no idea why you were talking to him; but, occasionally, he would talk about something that scared him. When everyone else would look away I would watch. The look in his eyes was something I had never seen before; it was awful. When he met my eyes, he didn’t look away. I understood.
We are human; we want and need to be accepted. We’re so afraid that when people see who we truly are, they’ll run. And they might, but they might also stay.
I believe in people and all they have to share, as well as hide. I believe that what they hide is essentially their core, who they are. I believe that this wall they build keeps out those who could not care less, but is there for those who understand to break down. I believe that people are not what they seem.
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