My little brother was once preparing for a fancy dress competition. Since I had invited my friend over to my house that day, I borrowed the costume of an ugly ghost from him. I put the scary mask on and stood behind the door, believing it would scare the hell out of my friend. As she arrived, she got extremely horrified, until she wrenched it off my face and said, “Oh, it’s just you.”
Everyone feels scared that if we show our real selves, the world will roll its eyes and say, “Oh, it’s just you.”
We all at some point, tend to be like that. It’s just that the degree of the extent to which we go, varies with the past experiences that we’ve had and we carefully construct a defence against further hurt. We mask our reality to conform to the social pressures.
“Masks”— Not all are fancy and sweet though, some people wear daunting ones too.
I often tend to hide all the good that I have in me, due to a fear of being misused by opportunistic people out there.
Like, I want to pretend to be clever to people around, when I don’t want them to know about the naïve inner me. I don’t want them to use this revelation against me for their own advantage someday. Yes, not everyone does wrong to us. But then how could one be so sure ?
How much ever someone means to me, if they need any help, my self monitoring system forces me to initially project myself as a meagre or a selfish being, who one could never mistake for an emotional fool. I take my time in responding to their requests, only to end up stretching a helping hand towards them later. I finally help them not out of compulsion, but because of the generous inner me which always wanted to help them, and I always want to hide.
Sometimes, wearing a mask of overly dominant temperament, I would cover up my sensitivity in a way that only a few people could guess the fact that I am a rabbit disguised as a porcupine.
While doing all this, I not only bruised my true innocence and kindness, but deprived others of meaningful communications and relationships I might have had with them. I realised keeping a mask took away the goodness from my consciousness and, in the long run, wore it out completely.
I needed to regain that honesty I felt I had lost along the way. I wanted to pull my mask off. I did it partially, but found the world scaring me into putting it back on.
Nevertheless, I have always believed that a human being has to go through a gradual process of learning, in little baby steps. It’s not an overnight journey, it requires time and patience.
An actress Fanny Brice explained, “Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?”
I have come this far, realising, that we should not let the world stop us from being who we truly are. It’s braver to face the world in our real and comfortable skin, than be fear induced to wear a fake intimidating mask.
We might think the mask fools them, but eventually, it’s us who’s being fooled along with. 🙂