Robin Hood: Shedding Your Mask

So excited to continue my Tales of Nottingham: Character Reflections series today! With book 2 releasing soon, I really wanted to dive into Robin Hood’s personality, especially since he’s a main point-of-view character in the next book. If you happened to miss the first post of this series, you can check out my Character Reflection on Marion HERE!

When Robin Hood took the stage in THIEF, he was an immediate fan favorite. He was roguish, cocky, witty, swoon-worthy…basically what you’d expect of a fictional boyfriend. His love for his family, especially his younger sister, Gina, and his protectiveness of Marion and desire to help her succeed and become the person she was meant to be didn’t hurt either. *winks*

But something that you pick up on in THIEF, even if just a little, and something that will be more apparent in book 2… Robin really loves his mask. I’m not talking about his literal hood/face mask, but instead, his persona. He created the persona of Robin Hood as a boy after a family tragedy, and it’s grown beyond him into a legend that is whispered and worshipped throughout the realms.

And Robin clings to it. He hates it. He loves it. This legend of his leaves no room for mistakes and errors, and when he does make them, as all humans do, he fills with self-loathing because of it. He often wonders if he’ll ever be free of all the responsibility he’s put on his shoulders, but he’s scared to be human again. He hasn’t allowed himself to fail in so long that he isn’t sure how to deal with the repercussions of it.

His journey throughout my Tales of Nottingham series is another aspect that I think is so important to talk about in today’s society, where wearing masks (personas) are expected and encouraged. We are taught to wear them. Sometimes we are made to wear them, feeling as if we have no other choice.

Especially during my middle school and early high school years, I alternated between a variety of masks, wearing whichever one my “friends” liked most. I hadn’t been able to make friends for so long that I worried if I let myself be anything other than what they wanted, they’d leave.

The turning point in my life was when those friends left anyways. Why had I worn a persona for so long if they were just going to up and leave? If they were going to do it anyway, I didn’t want to be anyone other than who I truly was. Pretenses no longer enthralled me; I wanted to be genuine and real.

This journey from mask-wearer to self-acceptance hasn’t been easy, and it’s one I still struggle with on a day to day basis. There are too many times, especially on social media, where I want to pretend I have my life and goals all lined up in a neat row, but that’s not the case. I have to actively remind myself to leave my personas behind and be genuine. Because if I can’t be genuine, how can I talk about others needing to be genuine? How can I help others who need a hand to hold as they walk this journey for themselves?

Everyone wears masks for different reasons. I could never pretend to know everyone’s journeys and struggles, but I do know that one of the reasons personas are often donned is because of hurt in the past. In my hopes of encouraging you to take off your mask, I never want to minimize your pain either. That’s one of the reasons why Robin Hood’s own journey in Tales of Nottingham is so important to me and, I feel, important to other people. It’s not a one-trick-fixes-everything journey. It’s not a pretty, unrealistic picture. Robin struggles and falls and has to pick himself back up again and again. He has to actively choose between the persona he’s created and who he really wants to be deep down, even when it’s hard, even when he doesn’t want to make the choice.

Thankfully, for him, he has friends looking out for him. They’re there to encourage him and nudge him back toward his genuine self when he needs the reminder to leave the persona behind.

It is my hope that everyone finds this person — or people — to do the same for them. And if you ever want to talk, just know my inbox and comments sections are always open to you. If I can be of any help at all on your journey of self-acceptance, I want to be there for you.

It’s hard, dear friends, but the journey is well worth it in the end.

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