I read Sheryl’s post regarding masks with great interest. I thought it was a noteworthy topic and decided to continue the subject.
We all wear masks, not just at Halloween, which can be a great deal of fun, especially the beautifully decorated ones, with either lacy edging or fun colours.
I was thinking more along the lines of the masks we wear depending on whom we are with. Often we wear a mask at work, especially in a new job, putting our best foot forward, letting little of our own personality shine through. One because we are “learning” a new job and it’s intricacies. Two because we are watching the interactions that go on, getting a feel for the dynamics we are involved in.
More importantly, we put on masks to disguise our true feelings, our true selves from the outside world. Often it becomes so ingrained it almost becomes “us” and who we are. The “real” us becomes hidden, even from ourselves, so we truly don’t know who “we” are anymore.
Could it be because we’re taught often, not to rock the boat, don’t make waves, or there is a right and a wrong time for this discussion, difference of opinion etc. Perhaps, this is why as a society we have become so “sensitive” or perhaps “insensitive” would be a better word, to so much, even intolerant. We no longer look at the big picture, putting the thoughts words ideas or conjecture into context, or even dismissing them as ridiculous instead of perceiving them as a “threat”. The question is, a threat to whom?
When we put on our “big boy and big girl” underwear, step back and take stock, we often realize there is no real credible threat in what is being said. Yes, I realize we often think if it’s said once, no problem, but we tend to believe it if we see the same thing in print three or more times, we change our opinions. That’s when investigation or fact-checking becomes necessary, delving into the meat of the situation instead of reacting to it or dismissing it.
On a personal level, I know I wore a mask forever. I would stand at the door, prepared to leave, and relax and inevitably put on my mask, my mask for meeting the outside world. I really wasn’t any different in how I reacted. Still, there was an invisible wall that I’d erect that my friend pointed out one day. At first, I had no idea what he was referring to. What mask? How was I putting on a mask, how was I different? This friend knew intimate details that I was facing, not just a crossroads, but an inner struggle of such magnitude that it would take many hours, days, weeks, months and yes, years to come to terms with.
I didn’t feel it was necessary to wear my “heart on my sleeve” as it were and allow anyone else to know of the deep-seated turmoil I was endeavouring to overcome and work my way through. That mask effectively protected me until such times as I was able to handle the intricacies of the situation before me and how it impacted both my family and me.
Therefore, I often in hind-sight, feel that a mask is our own protection against the onslaught of too much information, too much emotion, and a protection against those who would use our insecurities, our indecision, our vulnerability against us.
Perhaps there is a time and a place for a mask, as long as the mask doesn’t become fixed and become “us” and we are able to look upon ourselves at least, with clarity.