Tahoe-Truckee screenings on tap for ‘The Mask You Live In’ | SierraSun.com

Tahoe-Truckee screenings on tap for ‘The Mask You Live In’

"The Mask You Live Inn" follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.

‘The Mask You Live In’

Positively Rolling is partnering with the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District and Tahoe SAFE Alliance to host two community screenings of the advocacy documentary, “The Mask You Live In.”

The film follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity. A panel discussion will follow each screening.

Due to mature content, parents and high school-age students are welcome to attend. The events are free and food will be available for purchase. They are set for Thursday, April 21, 6 p.m., at the Truckee High School Auditorium; and Monday, April 25, 6 p.m., at the North Tahoe High School Auditorium

Visit positivelyrolling.org to learn more about Positively Rolling. Visit truckeecharterschool.org to learn more about Sierra Expeditionary Learning School. And visit tahoesafealliance.org to learn more about Tahoe SAFE Alliance.

Don’t cry. Be a man. Toughen up. Don’t be a sissy. Every day, all across the country, these words are spoken to boys or they receive similar non-verbal communication.

Our cultural norms tell boys that sadness and fear, natural human emotions, are unacceptable. As a result, we see boys begin to have more difficulty expressing these feelings and instead choosing anger as their “go to” emotion.

Unused, their skills for processing uncomfortable feelings becomes extremely limited. Chronically unexpressed feelings can lead to depression and anxiety, and in the worst cases, self-harm and suicide.

Children and adolescents who can authentically recognize and express their emotions have more resiliency when life gets challenging. They can release what is hurting and find relief in order to tackle the next life experience.

Those who struggle with identifying and expressing their feelings will often get side-lined by an uncomfortable experience without the tools needed to process it.

Why does this matter?

These boys turn into men who must interact with the world around them. They are in relationships with peers, partners, family members, coaches, teachers and later in work environments.

Without skills to decipher their feelings, it is difficult to accurately communicate how they feel to anyone else, often leading to conflict and confusion.

Helping boys understand authentic emotions can be a journey. Here are some ways to help children and adolescents grow their emotional literacy:

1: Reflect to them what you think they are feeling. If anger is their go-to emotion, help them unpack what is sitting underneath. Typically, anger will cover up sadness or grief. For example, if a friend betrays their confidence, anger is often what you will find on the surface, but underneath sits grief and loss fueling this anger.

2: Normalize and validate these feelings for your boys. Tell them that their feelings are perfectly normal and honor the fact that they are sharing them with you.

3: As a parent, offer your son opportunities to witness you acknowledging your own sadness and expressing fear.

Most importantly, please come and join the conversation about challenges our boys face when the documentary “The Mask You Live In” will be screened for FREE at Truckee High School (April 21) and North Lake Tahoe High School (April 25) at 6 p.m.

Discover ways to support the boys and young men in your life.

Alaina Reichwald is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist and the school counselor at Sierra Expeditionary Learning School (SELS).

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