The Psychology of Personal Expression & Anonymity

I don’t know why it is on my mind tonight, but I just can’t get out of my head what makes so many people so unique in this world; how different people go about “expressing themselves” different ways – artistically and/or personally. After-all, it is our actions which define us more than anything else. Psychology just attempts to explain why humans act or behave how/why/as they do.

Some write poems, some play instruments, some act or take photographs, some rap, some create pieces of art while others, like me, write about their thoughts or feelings. Tonight I found myself listening to Heavy Metal Rock music for the first time in a while. I think because of my mental illness I never listen to much music at all any more these days – so the occasion was rare, much like with television.

More specifically I was listening to a Slipknot song called “UnSainted.” Despite what you may think of their music, Slipknot is a household name even among people who do not care for Metal Music. In other words they are still “popular” even through their music genre is “rare.” It’s just ‘not for everyone,‘ but even the biggest “haters” can not take away from them how good they are at what they do.

But I want you to watch the video below, the full video below from start to finish just to consume it. You should watch it even if you don’t like it because it still exists in this world, it’s interesting; unique – even if you can’t relate. Maybe you can in a way? You should always try to take more time understanding people or why they do what they do; behave how they behave – at least that’s the way I see it.

Notice how the man does have a beautiful voice, and it is kind of a beautiful song in its own way – at least starts off that way. So the singer does not scream because he is not a talented singer or artist. This is just how he expresses himself sometimes, or perhaps gets it out of his system? You notice how he has to wear a mask? He couldn’t scream like that without it. He sings normal the whole time in his other band, doesn’t wear a mask in that one. You know how embarrassing it is to scream like that – literally? In the presence of judgemental people at that? Of course he doesn’t want anyone seeing his face, he’d be self-conscious or embarrassed. They all get stage fright, they don’t want anyone knowing who they are off stage in real/everyday life – that’s the whole reason for the masks in the first place.

But “fear” and “doubt” are not the only emotions at play here, there is ‘flip side‘ to this type of expression(“ism“). I’m being honest here, have you ever just let loose and screamed in frustration or anger in response to something or a situation – on purpose? Or if you’ve ever been embarrassed or flustered- flattered? It lets out a lot of emotion and takes a lot of physical energy. For this reason it can feel really good or even relieving to just let yourself go like that. Maybe some people out there hear the song or see the imagery and think something “evil,” but I bet you he is a much more at peace person than most in society. You don’t see pro-boxers going around punching random people in the streets, do you? It’s not good to hold onto strong emotion quietly/silently for very long, you have to get let that $hit out from time to time. It’s healthy; therapeutic.

My point is that even if you hate Metal Music with every fiber of your being, Slipknot is still pretty famous and has been one the most successful bands of their/my generation – in any genre of music. This is because they have a special talent, a unique way of expressing themselves or doing things that gets them attention/accolades. They stand out from “the norm,” which is something evidenced in every great artist/creator.

You want to know a personal true story. I am much too self-concious to be the typical Karaoke type, ever, but I never had a better feeling then when I karaoked the scream from 0:43-0:55 in the song below. I didn’t even start the lyrics after, I just smiled and genuinely laughed not believing what I just did. It felt so good, it was freeing, even though it could technically be witnessed as “embarrassing.” It put me in such a good mood. If you are going to listen to the intro, do it with full sound up👍.

Even though I do not typically care for any music, necessarily, I have always appreciated Metal because of the physical effort it takes to play and create. Metal boys play real hard, and I respect that. But I did not write this article because I wanted to talk about music, actually. I wanted to write about the symbolism of having to wear a mask to express yourself, as well as the psychology that goes into it.

Perhaps this issue is more relevant to me more than most because of all the years I spent in Anonymous operations, hiding my every expression, word, action, skill and emotion behind behind a Guy Fawks Mask – literally. Look at how I express myself in my Twitter and Facebook profiles even to this day. Kind of strange, isn’t it?

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I do this not because I am a “Goth” or trying to scare/intimidate people, it’s actually because if you knew me offline, completely out of context, you would kind of just see me as a “bum.” I mean, I was literally homeless just two years ago. I’ve lived every year of my adult life, except 1, below the US defined poverty line. I don’t have a US drivers license, credit card or criminal history. I am the most boring person in the world on paper, without a computer or internet connection, but look at what my mind produces or “creates” with one. Look at the impact/footprint I’ve made all around the world. Something you would never know about me, if you never knew about my Anonymous Operations.

If you know that then you know how dangerous or influential I can be to the wrong or right people.  Does the fact I am a homeless have any bearing on how many terrorists I can unmask online? Does a business suit have any bearing on how advanced my mind is, with or without a computer? Could some stock broker do what i do? Would you respect me more or less if I did or did not wear a tie? Why? What does it matter? Who is more dangerous with a computer? Me? or Me wearing a business suit? It doesn’t matter, so what does it matter what I actually look like? When you are dealing with me I take things very seriously, I expect the same from you. All this together, I just present/represent myself like this online. By comparison I’m the kindest, most unassuming person in real life, offline, if you knew me personally.

My belligerence or online passion is never reflected in person, and that’s not just subconsciously. You know how many people I offend and continue to offend with what I write? I just tell them that enjoy taking bold stances, because it has a way of encouraging people to make bold responses. Then we really get talking, and that’s what is all about. Say what you feel and don’t apologize for it. That’s how we really get to know each other.

When it comes to the peoples of “Anonymous,” so many people do and have done tremendous things – life/world altering things. You know how hard it is to do that? History kills revolutionaries. Prosecutors chase them. Sometime it takes a lot of danger and self sacrifice to do something great or brave, so we protect ourselves by hiding ourselves. We do not wear the mask because we are afraid, but because we are fearless. Our lives would be too dangerous if we didn’t, even if no one knows what we are capable of. It’s also kind of the thrill of it all, the fact that I could do something amazing and you’d never even know it – I just go into work the next day. It’s kind of empowering and confidence boosting actually. I think we’re motivated by being underestimated.

Personally, I think when you take the time to consciously/purposely silence your own ego and let loose is when you are at the most peace with yourself; perform at the highest or are the best version of yourself. Accomplishing this can be done many different ways. Some of us just use a mask or Anonymity to achieve it. You wouldn’t believe how wild, or creative, or free, or fearless you can be when you think no one is looking. This is why some of the greatest visionaries, geniuses and artists of all types tend to be some of the most reclusive individuals. Personality and interaction is not the way to express yourself personally, publicly, which is often why you’ll find that people whom hide themselves the most publicly are often times some of the most alternatively expressive people on Earth – or represent themselves in the most interesting/unique of ways. How interesting are you? Sometimes it’s fun to be different/weird, so own it.