The Truth Is Not Real
By: Matthew D. McEvilly May 5, 2014
Table of Contents
You’re True Personality…….
The College Transition………
Figuring Yourself Out ………
About The Author…………..
Everyone struggles throughout their life trying to find their true identity. People go through huge transitions that help them find that identity. I believe it’s more of wanting and having an ambition to become who you want to be. The transition you go through is figuring out who you want to be and realizing who you truly are. Many people decide to put on fronts to act a certain way. If you are trying to fit into a certain group the easiest way is to wear a mask. Wearing a mask is an example how people are “fake”. It is a way to show your false identity. People try wearing the mask just so they can become who the person they want to be. There are experiences in life that shape who we are as a person. You go through certain things in life that effect who you represent. Experiences like college, getting haircuts, and friends influence you to represent your true meaning. Later on in the book you will read and understand how experiences like those can impact yourself. It leads to finding your true identity. In my opinion you cannot develop or learn your personality. You are born the way you act. However I do believe your personality and actions can be influenced by outside forces. For example, if you hang around with the same group of friends throughout high school then they will influence you. They are able to rub off on you because you are with them so much. Throughout Losing My Cool, Thomas Chatterton Williams struggles to find his true identity. It wasn’t something surprising because most people go through the typical phases all young adults experience. Many times in the book did Williams “fake” his personality and actions 3
just so he could fit into the group he wanted to be a part of. Specific examples will be explained in this book. Williams finds it very difficult fitting in with the group he wants to be a part of. He tries acting differently and does things he never would do just so he would be similar to them. He puts on a front and wears a mask. This whole time Williams is not being true to himself. He is acting a way that he truly isnâ€™t. The changes and transition comes around for Williams just like everyone else who experiences something like this. When he attends college and realizes what he was doing, he decided to change his ways. Thereâ€™s a specific moment that makes you think about who you truly are. Iâ€™m not sure what that specific moment it is but there is always something that triggers your mind to realize who you truly are. Coming out of your front is the perfect example of that specific moment that forces you to find your identity. When this moment takes place you will certainly know. Something special will pop into your head and that will be your tip for discovering who you are. Noticing that you are not yourself is difficult to figure out but in the end you find your true personality, actions, and desire for the rest of your life.
Youâ€™re True Personality
Personality traits are developed as you live your life and can change depending on experiences you have. Throughout Losing My Cool, Thomas Chatterton Williams’s explains the difficulty he was developing his personality. Many experiences that Williams has to deal with change the way he acts. He has a hard time developing his personality so he can fit in with the black crew he wants to be in. I believe Williams wears a “mask” to fake his personality even though it isn’t truly himself. Experiences at the barbershop show how Williams tries to change his personality so he can be like the artists on the show B.E.T. Experiences that Williams deals with relate to me when I was younger when I had to fake me personality in order to fit in. Sometimes you will never know if someone’s personality is real or fake. Many people consciously work to develop certain personality traits. In my opinion people who do that are being fake and are wearing a mask. Williams tries changing his personality throughout the book so he can become “blacker” as he says. I believe that you are born with a certain personality but you can change it by wearing a mask so you can figure out a way so it will change the way you want. You are able to develop your personality by who you hang around with and changes in your life that makes you develop a new one. Williams struggles throughout the book to become the person he wants to be. He has experiences when he realizes he wants to be someone different than what he is. Williams wants to become “blacker” then he really is. One day when he was going to get a haircut at a black barbershop some lady yells out at him and his family saying that they should go home because they were a white family in a black neighborhood staring like it’s a zoo. This scene is the beginning of Williams wanting to be “blacker”. So Williams decides to get his haircut at the barbershop but he realizes something that changes him. He says, “ while in the barbershop that day and every second Saturday afterward, I was extra careful to pay attention to the other black 6
boys sitting inside. These boys became like models to me. I studied their posture and their screw faces, .... , their mannerisms, the way they slapped hands on the street. These boys would never get singled out and dissed the way I had been. I decided I wanted whatever it was that protected them”. (Page 9) This quote sums out William’s desire to become a true black boy. Ever since he leaves the barbershop, Williams tries acting like them and to develop a personality just like the other kids. He even gets the usually black haircut, the flat top just so he would look like them. Williams now is starting to fake his personality just so he can be like them and fit into the black culture. I can relate to Williams trying to fake his personality the same way in my life. For my whole life I went to a small catholic school until fourth grade when my parents sent me to the public school in my town. When I first went to my new school I didn’t know how to act because I was so familiar with my old school and the culture it had. Since I changed schools I didn’t know anyone so I had to fake my personality so I could fit in with the kids there until I developed a new personality that was accepted by them. It took me a while to develop my new personality while I hung out with my new friends because they influenced me to change mine like the public school kids because it really was different. The whole time during the beginning of the school year in the new school I was faking my personality just so I could fit in. This relates to Williams because he does the same thing trying to become a true black kid just as I wanted to be like the public school kids. Both Williams and I wear masks for a while so we could develop our new personalities. I believe people try to developed new personalities just so you can fit in with your new situation. Williams becomes more “blacker” by getting his new haircut and noticing how they boys in the barbershop act so he can be just like them. I did the same thing my first few weeks at school watching how the other boys acted. I wanted to be like 7
them, just like Williams did. The whole development of a personality is influenced by experiences you deal with in your life. The change of Williams came from the barbershop as I did from my change in schools. Wearing a mask to fake your personality seems like it has worked out for Williams so far. He has changed his the way he acts and becomes “blacker” as the book continues. It also worked out for me as I did wear a mask for a while so I could fit in. I think the biggest problem for Williams and I was fitting in with the people at school. We both wore masks as we noticed how they acted so we could be like them. I also believe wearing a mask by faking your personalities goes hand and hand with developing your personality. You wear a “mask” for a period of time so you can change or develop your new personality. Once you realize and adapt new behaviors by wearing the mask you are able to become yourself again just with a slight change in your personality.
Transition #1 As you read my first short story you should have learned all about personality. Finding your personality is a difficult thing to accomplish especially for teens. It takes time and many changes occur to truly find your identity. Many people put on fronts and wear a mask just so they can have a certain personality they want. In my opinion you are born with your personality, However there are outside forces influencing it but it never truly changes. People think you develop your personality as you continue your life but I donâ€™t agree. Many people put on fronts just so they can establish a certain trait they wish to have. This explains how people put on fronts and wear a mask. Williams resembles this perfectly. When he does this, he is establishing himself to others but itâ€™s not truly him. There are little things in life that establish and resemble your personality. Your looks and actions are good examples of it. Something like a haircut can mean so much to you. It makes you a new person. People look at your haircut and automatically make assumptions against you. Something as simple as a haircut can establish your personality but also the type of person you are.
Many people have mixed feelings about haircuts. I believe getting a haircut almost makes you feel brand new. After I get a fresh cut I feel like Iâ€™m ready for the day and make it a successful one. The typical haircut for me was a two all around, lineup and leave the front so I 10
could spike it. I have never had to deal with any problems before or after I received my haircut. I mean a two all around with a line up didn’t seem that difficult in my opinion. Ever since I was a little kid I have been going to the same barber and getting the same haircut for years. It wasn’t until one day when I had one of the funniest but embarrassing experience at my barbershop. I want to first begin by explaining some events prior to the day I had my experience. So during my freshman year in high school I was a part of the football team. Every year we play our local rival Nashoba Regional High school and have a spaghetti supper with a haircut tradition. Every player on the team would get a Mohawk to make fun of them. It’s been a tradition ever since we have been playing them. We usually would meet up at our captains house the day before our game and do all of those things. So the day comes around and were all letting each other give ourselves Mohawks for the game. The twist in the story comes back to my typical haircut with the spike in the front. Well Nashoba’s mascot is an arrowhead and if you think about it, a spike in the front of your head following a Mohawk is the ideal arrowhead haircut. So as my turn came up I decided to release the idea of getting the arrowhead shape design as my haircut because the spike makes it so easy to do. Being a freshman I was very nervous and just tried fitting in with the older players on the team so I decided to tell them. Since I was so nervous and didn’t want them the screw my hair up I thought letting them know about the idea I had, was the best way to prevent them from ruining my hair. I was just trying to start something new and become one of those “favorite” freshman. All my teammates loved the idea so i decided to do it not thinking that my teammates were not professional barbers. In the end the Mohawk was crooked and the arrow in front was awful. So basically I ended up with a haircut that didn’t look like their mascot at all.
Since the whole arrowhead haircut didn’t work out for me I decided to go to my barber the next day to see if they could fix it. The barber that I go to is very popular in my town and of course the day I decide to go it’s packed with people. As soon as I walked in the door everyone turned and just looked at me. I didn’t really know what to do or expect when I walked in so I felt so embarrassed standing there. I am very thankful that my barber decided to speak up and start asking me questions about it. At the same time everyone was still looking at me, even the little kids that were playing games stopped what they were doing just to look. I was thinking in my head that all I wanted to do is leave right now. I have never felt that way before in my life while getting a haircut. So it was finally my turn around to get mine done and my barber asked what I wanted to do with it. I decided to tell him to try and straighten it up so I could still keep the look because I thought it would be cool to be mocking our rival. As he started to cut my hair he eventually said to me “this is not working out at ALL my friend”. It was so screwed up it wasn’t possible for him to shape it up to make it look nice. At that moment in time I was stuck and didn’t know what to do because I didn’t want to shave my spike off. I’ve had my spike for my whole life and I really didn’t want it to go even though it would have grown back within a week. So I just decided to shave everything off and ditch the idea of the arrowhead. He went on with shaving off the arrow and I ended up with nothing besides a bald head with barely any hair left. I was so sad that I had to shave my head that I honestly hated all my teammates at the moment. This whole experience for me was fun, embarrassing, and as I would say a new look for myself. I had never experienced anything like that before at my barbershop, so it was a great time but embarrassing because of the reactions and comments I got from the people that were at the shop. I had so much trust in my barber I never thought anything like this could happen. This 12
experience wasnâ€™t so bad after all. I found my new haircut which I still have today with no spike and I also had a fun time joking around with all the people in the shop. I will never forget that day for the rest of my life.
Transition #2 13
You would think something as simple as a haircut wouldnâ€™t create such an impact on someone. They can imply the type of person you are and what you are interested in. You wouldnâ€™t think a haircut could give away so much information about you. Itâ€™s the little things like a certain haircut that people observe and notice about you. Usually haircuts make me feel like a new person. There is not a better feeling than getting a fresh cut. Reading the last short story you can grasp some ideas that my haircut had dramatic effects on me. It made me go out of my comfort zone which never happens while getting a haircut. As you continue reading you will notice how life is all about change. A haircut is a great example of something that creates some type of change. It makes you look and feel different than you did before you got it. Changes can be as small as a haircut or something so important like going to college. In some way college and getting a haircut are very similar that present a new beginning. College is an experience were many people take the time to find themselves as a person. It acts as a new beginning to your life without putting on fronts or masks so you can hide your true identity.
The College Transition 14
College is all about experiencing new things and finding out who you are as a person. My first year in college hasnâ€™t been too difficult for me but I had some difficulty dealing with change. These changes occurred when I returned home for the first time. Being at school for so long and seeing the same people every day in my dorm changed my attitude towards my hometown and friends.
When I returned home for the first time it was quite the experience for me. I had spent time with my family then I went to go visit my friends. When I was in high school my friends and I had created a bond that couldn’t be broken. Ever since my sophomore year in high school my friends and I would always go and hangout at one of my friend’s house every day of the week. We would chill in his basement every day and enjoy our high school experience doing the things every kid in high school did. There was ten of us that would always be there and do everything together. We had formed a clique that nobody else would mess with. I got so used to going to my friend’s every day that when I came home and went there for the first time I acutely felt out of my comfort zone. My friend’s basement was the change that I noticed the most. When I first went downstairs and realized how different it was I was astonished. It always had this old style with such a comfortable atmosphere to it. We all loved it. It had old raggedy couches with this coffee table in the middle that had all of our initials carved into it. Everything down there seemed to be old besides the 50 inch flat screen TV were we would play x box and the Apple computer. The most memorable item in the basement was a big boom box that we would bump music so loud that the house would be shaking. It was a basement filed with experiences I will never forget. Walking down the steps for the first time I thought I was in the wrong place! Everything had changed. His parents decided to do some massive renovations and upgraded it. It was now a finished basement with painted walls and different rooms. It wasn’t the big, old, and open basement I was used to seeing every day. I couldn’t believe the changes that were made. The coffee table no longer existed, the coaches were replaced with brand new ones, all of the old signs and pictures that were hung up were gone. Everything that I remembered about the basement was now gone or brand new. The whole time I was there I just kept looking around and 16
asking all my friends a bunch of questions. They started to get mad at me for asking so many questions because it seemed to me like they didn’t even care about the old basement that we spent our whole high school career in. I couldn’t stop asking about all the new upgrades because I couldn’t get over the fact that something so special could change so quickly and dramatically. Since I was so upset about it I couldn’t help but think about all the memories that were created here which now were gone. The basement really took a toll on me when I realized that my friends had also changed in a way. The way they acted was different because we all had to go in our own ways for college that we adapted to our new college friends. I don’t really know if my friends thought I changed as well but I could surely tell that they did. The fashion they had was different. Before college we all didn’t care about our appearance, wearing sweatpants and hoodies every day. Now that we all went to school everyone had their own style going. One of my friends had long wavy hair that none of us before would ever have. Another decided to dress up nicely every day now. Wearing button up shirts with khaki pants and a polo hats. I never pictured him wearing anything like that. For myself I believe I didn’t change a thing. I still went with the old lazy look that our whole crew used to wear, with the sweatpants and sweatshirt type style. I could understand the change in my friends because it’s something that everyone experiences freshman year in college. When you get to college you usually meet new people that soon become your friends. Just like in high school you get familiar with them. I believe your friends influence and impact the way you act because you’re with them so much. You get used to the attitude and environment that they bring. I think this is what happened to my friends as well as myself. Being around new people and having new friends changes you. When they went off to school, they most likely meet people that weren’t like the crew before so they had to adapt to 17
their new friends so they could fit in. It obviously happened because when they came home I could notice that they weren’t the same. It wasn’t so bad for me because I was lucky enough to meet the same type of people that were so similar to back home. It didn’t affect our relationships at all but just realizing that the people you hang around with are very influential to you. Coming home for the first time was an eye opening experience for me. I believe it will help me in my life. Realizing that anything can change at the blink of an eye is something I never thought could happen. It felt so weird coming home because I didn’t realize how fast things could change. People and places can change at any time. It was eye opening because I thought to myself that I was only gone for a couple months how could something change so fast. I was so use to the old setting of the basement it was hard to capture the culture that had changed. My friends and I were so familiar and close with each other when I came back it felt somewhat awkward thinking to myself about the change. My experience coming home made me recognize all the changes that have occurred since I’ve been at school.
Transition #3 Entering college is such a scary but exciting moment in your life. There are many mix experiences and feelings about going to college. Some people enjoy it and others can’t handle being away from home. It’s an experience that only some people can handle. 18
Luckily for me transiting into college wasnâ€™t the hardest part. It was the return back home. When I returned home there was dramatic change. The culture and relationships I had before were now different. Everything seemed to change in my eyes. Both Williams and I experience the same type of transition. Even though I knew college is all about change and transition I never realized how fast it all happened. In a matter of months everything was different. For most people college is about finding your identity. Itâ€™s a difficult process as Williams and I went through. Finding your true identity is what college is for. Many obstacles and experiences make you realize new things. It makes you re-think your life. Itâ€™s a process that allows you to discover your true identity.
Figuring Yourself Out 19
College is all about experiences and finding out who you truly are as a person. Throughout losing my cool, Thomas Chatterton Williams struggles to find his own identity. Williams goes through a big transition in college that most students deal with. I believe that Williams puts on a front and wears a mask through the majority of the book. During his high school and early college years he tries acting differently than he really is just so he can fit in with 20
the people he “thinks” he belongs with. Finally Williams realizes that the way he has been acting isn’t the true and discovers himself as a person. Personally I don’t believe Williams ever truly changed who he is but realized he wasn’t in the correct crew while in college. He was wearing a mask and acting out of his himself just so he could fit in. He believed it was the correct crew but it really wasn’t. Many times in high school and college did Williams wear a mask just so he could fit into the “black” crew. Williams struggles throughout the whole book to get himself into the black lifestyle. He tries acting blacker just so his friends would accept him in. Getting haircuts like a typical black person and listening to rap music influenced Williams a lot. He believed if he did those type of things that every black person did he would be accepted into the crew. He tries changing his personality to fit in. This whole time Williams is wearing a mask because I don’t think you can develop your personality. You are born with it. No matter what you do it will be the same. However conducting fronts and wearing a mask like Williams does can create the personality you want but it isn’t truly yourself. Williams says he studied the way the black kids acted and their mannerism while he was getting his haircut. “. I decided I wanted whatever it was that protected them” (page 9) even though this is at the beginning of the book this is when Williams starts putting on a front so he can be like those kids in the barbershop. They resemble what he wants to be like. It shows how Williams was always acting and never really changed his personality. While in college Williams experiences many things that make him re think about what he is doing. He starts to think that he is in the wrong crew and needs to change. The beginning of his transition begins around the end of his first semester. While he talks about the dormitories
and how the black people in his college segregate themselves, he finally starts to realize he might not start kicking with them. Williams says that, “All I knew was that I no longer felt what they were feeling. And though I still spent most of my days kicking it with them, I found myself, to my surprise and for the first time in a long time, resisting the urge to join them fully in their seclusion” (page 94) I believe this the beginning to Williams figuring out his true identity. This is a major point in the book because Williams finally realizes he doesn’t belong in the crew he always wanted to be with. He starts changing his ways in school and doesn’t try acting differently just so he can fit in. He realized that it isn’t the best fit for him to keep trying to fit in. I have always believed that he never had changed his personality and was faking it. He tried faking a different personality and way of acting just by doing the typical things black kids do according to Williams. Just because you have a flat top haircut, chill with the black crew, and listen to thug rap music that doesn’t mean you are going to change your personality to become more “blacker”. One day when Williams was chilling in the main court yard with Playboy he decides to squirt Ashley with his super soaker that was filled with water. This was a big mistake by him because she was tight with all the black basketball players and was one of the prettiest black freshman on campus. After he squirts her, the basketball players confront him about it and tell him to screw. This part in the book is the beginning when Williams starts disregarding his old black crew that he wanted to be a part of. He decided that it doesn’t matter as much to him. He basically doesn’t care that the most popular black kids on campus basically kicked him out if the black clang that he once was trying to be a part of. This is the beginning of Williams changing his whole identity as a person.
When he returns to Georgetown he changes his whole attitude towards school. This is the most significant and noticeable transition he experiences in my opinion. He goes home for the summer and returns to Georgetown basically a new person. When he returns he starts talking to one of his friends named Paul. He was a straight A student and takes his school work serious. Earlier on during his first semester Williams does very poorly. He never attended class and got bad grades because that’s what he thought the black kids did. I am not truly sure why he decided to change his school habits but it definitely was a big influence during his transition. Paul gives Williams some great tips for him to improve his grades. He tells him two things. One to never miss class and when you’re at class pay complete attention. Williams runs with it and decides to add another component to it. He decides to dress nicely to class everyday instead of wearing his “black” outfits or his pajamas. This impresses me because it shows that he now cares about his looks which his dad always stressed to him when he was a young kid. This also is another component that shows Williams put his old ways behind him. Williams also decides to change his major when he returns to school. He changes it to philosophy. Before he was studying economics. Williams says that “economics gets you respect, ultimately money is the only lingua franca.” (page 145) He only studied economics for the benefits. When he was younger and immature and dint know what he wanted to do with himself he went with money is the motive. He knew that there was a lot of money dealing with economics and that’s the only reason why he chose it. Now that he changes it he realizes it so good if you don’t study something you enjoy learning about. He wants to become a philosopher because he enjoys learning about it not because of the money. In my opinion this shows that Williams matured and made the correct decision based off his heart. He didn’t just chose to keep studying economics because maybe you will eventually 23
become a millionaire. He took Pappy’s advice how you should study what you love because when you get into the real work world it won’t be worth it if you’re miserable at your job every day. If you go to work every day happy then eventually the money will come and that’s what Williams now understands. I’m not sure if I would call Williams change a transition. It was more of a change in his life in my eyes. It’s like when kids in high school have those phases where you become gothic and then change back to who they truly are influenced by outside forces. It’s the same type of thing that happened to Williams. He thought he was going to be the black thug college student who didn’t give a shit about his school work. In the end that’s not who Williams really is. He wasn’t brought up by his dad to be have those type of qualities and personality. He decided not to put on a front anymore. He wasn’t wearing a mask anymore. I believe Williams became true to himself. The whole time while in college and high school he was wearing a mask just so he would be well liked and fit in. also to become a part of the black crew. Realizing you don’t belong in something takes a while to figure out but Williams eventually did it. Whether it was his father or the crew in college which forced him out and made him change but he did it. He decided not to put on a front for everyone. He wasn’t wearing a mask anymore. It’s something that everyone goes through when they enter college. Williams just took a difficult road through experiences which ended up into a college transition and finding his true identity.
Finding your true identity is a difficult process for the majority of people. In my opinion mostly everyone goes through some type of transition to find it. Difficult experiences and obstacles are the leading factors that help you discover it. Many people try to avoid this whole situation by putting on fronts or masks so they can hide behind. They “fake” their personality and actions in order to be a certain way. People do this so they can fit in. There are certain groups or cultures that you want to be a part of. Acting a certain way so you know that they will accept you is an example of putting on a front. Reading these short stories you should have noticed how people act out of their true personality just so they can fit in. Williams does this throughout his life. As a high school and college student he acts differently and puts on fronts just so his friends don’t know the real him. He tries becoming part of a black culture but deep inside he doesn’t fit in. At the time he doesn’t realize this but he eventually goes through a transition that establishes himself as a true person. Hiding behind these fronts is portraying someone who you truly are not. There are many outside forces that have major influence on finding your true identity as a person. Going to college and getting a haircut are both contributing factors to your identity. Both are part of this huge transition you go through. They influence your personality to establish it as real. Experiences like those are the factors that make you re-think what you’re actually doing. There is that specific moment when you realize that you need to change. I’m not sure what the specific moment in time is but you will know when it’s here. It will be very significant. This change is the one that you have been waiting for. Once you go through the transition your true personality will be found.
The transition is all about the occurrence of change. The whole transition process is based off some type of change. The change of college, haircuts, and friends were the most noticeable. Itâ€™s deciding to change your ways as a person. The things you do and the way you act will change. In the end of the transition you will be true to yourself.
About the Author Matthew D. McEvilly was born in Worcester Massachusetts on May 6, 1995. He was raised by his parents for four years in Worcester Massachusetts. He then moved to Clinton Massachusetts with his two new sisters and his parents. Matt graduated from Clinton High School in 2013, where he was a three sport athlete playing baseball, football, and wrestling. He enjoys hanging out with his friends, working out, and fishing. He then continued his education at Nichols College in Dudley Massachusetts. He is currently studying criminal justice management as a freshman. Matt also is a member of the football team at Nichols playing linebacker on defense. During the summer he returns home and works at his high school as a janitor. He hopes to become a police officer and raise his own family someday.