The psychologist Carl Jung believed that each person consists of a persona and a shadow. Basically, the persona is the mask you wear in society, and the shadow is your real character. I have been intrigued by this concept since I learned about it as an undergraduate in film class. The professor recommended a few readings by Jung before we viewed Ingmar Bergman's "Persona," which is one of my favorite films, and I've found myself reviewing my own persona and shadow from time to time. This twilight sequence from the film is incredibly beautiful. Liv Ullman's indifferent exterior gives way to her inner turmoil, and we glimpse her pain and vulnerability underneath her quiet mask.
I didn't have a persona until I was about eighteen because I wanted to display myself "as is." The problem was that I'm the dark, brooding type, and others found me too raw and intense for their liking. Jungian psychology also believes that the shadow is a person's negativity, which is the reason for the persona. I chose not to have a mask, and I was bullied in school. Those years taught me about the "necessary illusions" that allow us to live more easily. I'm still the dark, brooding individual, but it's hidden beneath layers of openness, charisma and femininity.
People easily misunderstand me because they think I am my persona, and those who probe deeper are often shocked to find out that I'm different from how I present myself to the world. I'm actually quite in control of whom I portray and whom I am, and I only let my mask down with the few important individuals in my life. Sometimes, I face the trouble of intentionally unleashing my shadow to show certain people that I'm not like they think I am. It's unfortunately had to happen twice this week.