I spent an hour or two reflecting by the Hudson River today. It marked a special moment in my life; enjoying one’s own company. Typically, I would find reasons to feel as though I don’t belong in a particular place unless I am accompanied by others. This time, I went to a park, filled with prestigious people who live in luxury condominiums in an overpopulated city and I sat there. For the first time, I just did not give a damn. I did not give a damn about the upper class Sams and Nancys and Sallys and Adams of the city. I did not feel less than. I felt like a feather, blowing where the wind takes me. The park is public, so there was no true reason to feel other than another human being taking a stroll, sitting on the bench, bronzing under the crippling September sun but it is the principle of the thing, I suppose. You see, each of us plays a role; a part that defines what we are according to morality and general codes of conduct. We (against our will) are strategically placed within an environment from birth that we adapt to and are defined by as our minds continue to develop into adulthood. Our brains develop at a different pace and in different ways; however, beneath the conditioned masks of fear that we paint and utilize on a daily basis implemented by a structural standard of living, there are fragments of our true identities that shine through. Masks, over time, their colors fade and the form diminishes after prolonged use. Our masks develop creases and cracks as we age and tire. That is when our true childlike form start to glimpse through; the dreamers. Below the surface are our true niches. The actors; the ones who never take off the masks, rather, they polish and care for theirs, constantly seeking validation behind many faces, they accept and seek acceptance. The scientists; their analytical tactics decide the best possible outcome for any hindrance that may erupt, they acknowledge every possibility until proven false, innocent until proven guilty. The mathematicians; the problem solvers, they are concrete, they are yes and no, they give answers to those who cannot decide upon one, they provide decisions to our irresolute ways. The artists; give life when all is lost, infinite in their own power of will, they drive others and themselves. The freedom fighters, the lovers, the warriors, and the soldiers; the conscious to a dormant civilization, they are our end product; they seek answers, simultaneously throwing caution to the wind. The writers; soundless voices in an immeasurable expanse of diverse disputes, they are the possibilities; they plug up the voids and make the most out of maybes. While I do believe conditioning is highly restrictive, we, as complex beings, would be a confused hell of a mass had it not been for some structure. Can we blame habituation? Adaptation? To a certain extent, yes. Will I let it stop me from being my absolute self? No. I may not always be a free spirit but I will always know that it is there, lingering. One day I may not need to let it shine through the cracks, one day I will pluck up the courage to take off the mask.