Persona – Friend or Foe (Part 1)

By David K. Devaney SgtMaj USMC Retired

“John is an ambiguous man;” maybe, but likely NOT. Almost all humans have a persona or many – my guess is multiple for most people.

Persona is sometimes referred to as a social “facade” or the aspect of an individual’s character to be presented to or perceived by others; the personality you project in public – your image. Persona is Latin for a “theatrical mask” worn by an actor. Once the actor put on the mask he or she became whatever the mask depicted; a dragon, a woman, a man, etc. In everyday terms a persona is the mask we wear in front of our friends, family, strangers, etc.

Example: I have noticed many tough guy Marines have a different voice (tone) for their wife than their friends. Using that same Marine I will continue:

Persona 1: To parents and family (mature, provider, warrior, tough guy…..)

Persona 2: To wife and children (sweet, loving, caring, protector of all……..)

Persona 3: Friends back home (wild Marine on the loose)

Persona 4: Fellow Marines (tough guy, leader, warrior………..)

So why is this important? It is important to know that we all likely have multiple personas and it is absolutely normal. BUT, for instance, the “wild Marine on the loose” with his friends has a good chance of making terrible mistakes; trying to show just how crazy and wild he is. Next thing you know he is in jail, dead or dying; life destroyed by a persona out of control.

Rule your personas; do not let them rule you.

Persona – Friend or Foe (Part 2)

Reminder: Persona is sometimes referred to as a social “facade” or the aspect of an individual’s character to be presented to or perceived by others; the personality you project in public or your image.

Do Not Judge a Book by its Cover; WHY NOT?

When I visit a bookstore I am usually just looking around and if a “book cover” catches my eye I will take a better look at the book. If a book’s cover photo shows two people kissing I will assume it is a romance novel and if it has a fire truck I will assume it is about firefighter or fire. If those genres are among the book types I like to read I will further investigate and I should be able to determine if this is a book I will enjoy. If I like what I see and read I will buy the book.

Every person goes through these same processes everyday when they are prejudging others; as we all do – everyone prejudges.

Our personal or “book cover” is our clothing – the way we dress. This has much to do with our personas and obviously will change depending on where we are going, where we are at, whom we are with, etc. When I see a couple in Costco in workout gear, I assume (prejudge) they just left the gym and needed a few items. Or they just want to be comfortable. Or they want everyone around them to know that they workout; etc.

The most ridiculous statement I hear – all the time: “You should not judge him or her by the way they dress.” WHY NOT????

If you are wearing a police uniform I will assume you are a police officer. If you are wearing scrubs I will assume you are in the health care industry. If you wear a NY Yankees baseball hat I will assume you are a NYY fan.

If you and all your friends have shaved heads, swastika tattoos on your head and neck, and a projected attitude I will assume you are a Nazi skinhead and I will avoid you. But, if you and your friends confront me I will have to defend myself, with fury, because of my preconceived notions of you as a threat. The reality is, I have never interacted with skinheads, so all I know is what the news media and Hollywood have taught me. Skinhead equals threat; or at least that is what their personas’ are trying to project. They believe that if they project an outward toughness they are protected.

If you and all your friends are dressed as “ganstas” I will assume you are a threat and I will avoid you; but, if you and your friends confront me I will have to defend myself, with fury, because of me preconceived notions of you as a threat. The reality is, I have never interacted with “ganstas” so all I know is what the news media, Hollywood, and the show ‘Cops” have taught me. “Ganstas” equals threat; or at least that is what their personas’ are trying to project. They believe that if they project an outward toughness they are protected.

Obviously I could go on with a plethora of other examples.

Rule your personas; do not let them rule you.

Think about that…………

SF DKD

 

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About The Author

David K. Devaney SgtMaj USMC Retired 2009 City of Hit Iraq with PTTDavid was born in Geneva New York and graduated from Geneva High School in 1980. He joined the Marine Corps on a guaranteed Infantry contract in April of 1983. After graduating boot camp he was stationed in Hawaii with 3rdBattalion 3rd Marines (3/3). While assigned to 3/3 he held billets as a rifleman, fire team leader, and squad leader. During 1986 Corporal (Cpl) Devaney was selected as a member of Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) Platoon, 3rd Battalion 3rd Marine. Upon graduation of Scout Sniper School he was assigned to the Scout Sniper Section of 3/3 STA Platoon. During his second deployment as a Scout Sniper with 3/3 he was promoted to Sergeant (Sgt). After a tour on the drill field from 1989-1991 Sgt Devaney returned to STA 3/3 were he deployed two more times. During 1994 Sgt Devaney was selected to the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSgt) and ordered to III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF), Special Operation Training Group (SOTG); while at SOTG SSgt Devaney was assigned as a Reconnaissance and Surveillance (R&S) and Urban Sniper Instructor and Chief Instructor. At the time III MEF SOTG Instructors were members of Joint Task Force 510 (JTF 510 CT); a Counter Terrorism Task Force. In 1998 he deployed to Operation Desert Fox with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/4 and was attached to Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 572/594 as a sniper. SSgt Devaney deployed again, during 2000, with ODA 135/136/132 to Malaysia as member of JTF 510, working with the Malaysian National Police. After leaving SOTG Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) Devaney was assigned to Company A 1st Battalion 7th Marine, and spent much of his time training the Scout Snipers of 1/7. Just before the invasion of Iraq, in 2003, he was selected to the rank of First Sergeant (1stSgt) and led 270 Marines, sailors, and soldiers during combat – receiving a Bronze Star Medal for destroying the enemy and their will to fight. During 2004 1st Sgt Devaney was ordered to duty as the Inspector Instructor Staff 1st Sgt for 2nd Beach and Terminal Operations Company, Savannah, Georgia. During 2007 he was selected to the rank of Sergeant Major (SgtMaj) and received orders to Electronic Warfare Squadron 4 (VMAQ-4) stationed at Cherry Point, NC. There he trained a CADRE which in turn trained a massive Quick Reaction Force in combat operations. After two more deployments to Iraq SgtMaj Devaney received orders to Weapons Training Battalion, Quantico, VA. SgtMaj Devaney retired from the Marine Corps on 31 December 20013. He now works as an adjunct combat instructor at the “Crucible’’ in Fredericksburg, VA. David is also on the Board of Directors of the Marine Corps Scout Sniper Association. David’s published work: Books Devaney, D.K. (2007). Surviving combat: Mentally and physically (3rd edition). 29 Palms, CA: USMC. Devaney, D.K. (2015). They Were Heroes: A Sergeant Major’s Tribute to Combat Marines of Iraq and Afghanistan. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. Articles Devaney, D.K. (2011) Enough Talk of Suicide, Already! Proceedings Magazine. Devaney, D.K. (2011) Can PTSD Be Prevented Through Education? Proceedings Magazine. Devaney, D.K. (2012) PTSD Is Not Cancer. The Marine Corps Gazette. Devaney, D.K. (2012) Women in Combat Arms Units. The Marine Corps Gazette.

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