Masks Unearthed

Reputation. It’s something you may or may not have. It’s something only people with great deal of popularity gain, may that popularity be in their favor or not because let’s face it, you can be popular in a bad way. Infamous. However, reputation is something that should never be worth the pain, be the basis of important decisions in your life, or be the cause of serious problems.

With reputation comes power. Reputation is a source of credibility and credibility is what brings people the power to have influence. A classic example is the high school set-up of popular kids vs. the normal people. If you catch a popular kid’s attention, it will only mean two things; he/she will either make you or break you. Being part of the cool kids’ table automatically grants you popularity and a new reputation. However, get on their bad side and they can turn the whole school against you, not to mention the bullying that will scar you for the rest of your life. Pain. Bullying has led to depression and suicide. Hence, with reputation comes power.

This leads us to the question, “What are you willing to do to keep that reputation?”. This, of course, assumes that fact that you like the reputation you have. Often enough, we stumble upon unique situations in our lives that truly test our principles. An ex-convict, sent to jail for a crime he didn’t commit, finally gets out as a free man and is determined to start a new life tries to get a job but can’t because of his unattractive track record, a reputation fate (or a judge/a jury/a lawyer/the guilty) has dealt him. Suddenly, an old friend reappears in his life offering a clean slate, no questions asked. Of course, for this to be possible, the said friend will have to perform illegal actions. A unique and, quite frankly, an ironic situation to be in indeed. In this case, this is the reputation he’s far from wanting to keep. If he says yes to this, didn’t he just let reputation be the basis of that decision? As unfair as life may be, he’ll never know that life isn’t that much of a bitch, and someone somewhere out there is actually willing to hire him despite his reputation.

We’ve said that reputation can be, surely not prescribed, the basis of important life decisions. But can it also be the cause of serious problems? A couple, married for 22 years and have 4 children, are very much unaware that their poor parenting skills are rooted on their unhappy marriage, have produced a daughter who got knocked up at 17 years of age, a son who has grown numb due to repeated verbal abuse and two more children facing a future that is uncertain if this continues. Both parties know that it isn’t working out and too much has happened to repair the damage that has been done. However, what will people say if they separate?  Surely, their relatives will look down on them for not having the capabilities of working it out. They will lose their highly respected, wealthy, and shallow friends who will see less of them because an unhappy family will always be better than a broken one. The local church may start to ignore them because annulment cancels their vow to the holy sacrament they both willingly entered all those wasted years ago. Others will pity them because both, who keeps a facade of not only being traditionally renowned as well off, but are also successful in their fields of work, apparently can’t say the same thing to their personal life. Their sterling reputation around the city, tainted. They see these things as a more pressing problem than salvaging whatever family they have left. So, what do they do? They stay together, and together they grew old without having any peace of mind, without experiencing content or simple happiness, without love. And in return, one of their children died of drug overdose and the others never bothered visiting them anymore.

Reputation, such a small factor when you’re facing the possibilities of losing everything that are actually important.


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