Taking Off the Mask

Adrena Rocha

I’ve always been so good at putting on a mask and hiding my feelings. Walking around the halls with a smile pretending everything is okay, but sometimes pretending gets exhausting. Sometimes I just need a shoulder to cry on or a ear to listen.

So then here I am sitting in a small room next to about seven girls that all hide behind this same mask, in some sort of way. From just the looks of it, the only thing we have in common is our school and our gender. However we have a lot more in common than expected.

The first day Matt Teegarden, LCSW, invited us to this group it was very quiet, he did a majority of the talking. Over some time we have became not just a group made by Teegarden, but a family, and each other’s support system.

“I’ve been a social worker for 36 years and this group and what we have done with it is amazing,” Teegarden said.  

Now the group is led by us seven girls. Around each other we have learned to slowly take off the mask and show our true feelings. What is discussed in the group stays within the group, including who the members are. This allows us to be more open.

“I feel safe, and I learned that I can almost relate to everyone,” said one freshman who participates in the group.

Within the group, we talk about past experiences or what is currently happening. We shed tears. We crack jokes. We give advice and we take advice.

“The group is very beneficial. It gives me a sense of belonging; I don’t feel so alone anymore,”said one junior member.

Personally, from being in the group, I honestly can say that I have grown as a person. Members represent all grade levels, showing that we all need each other.

“The group has built me up,” said one senior member. “Now, I can help others,”  

Being in a group full of such understanding similar people has lifted the weight off many. There are people who are there for us with welcoming arms. Don’t be afraid to reach out and get help.

For more information about being a part of the Girls’ Group, contact Matt Teegarden in the counseling office.