Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Masks

Sunday Scribblings prompt: Masks. Literal: making or wearing masks for Halloween, Carnival, Mardi Gras, the theater, any other masky occasion. Or, you know, psychological: a mask you wear, that you hide behind; the face you present the world, or that you present just to one person. For other masks, go here.

I say I should have known, but how could I? He wore the mask so well, so perfectly, that it was seamless and impossible to detect. At the time, I wore no masks, had no persona that I donned only for him or for anyone else. Young and innocent of such adult matters, I openly displayed my true self to the world. It was only after being with him that I began to put on my own masks. The mask of the "good wife" who cooks and cleans and never asks questions. The mask of the "cheerleader" who would always encourage, even when she needed encouragement. The mask of the "saint" who never said a bad thing about anyone else, who never even had a bad thought about anyone. Those masks were so easy to slip on, and I put them on willingly. Anything to save a young marriage. Anything to make the dream come true. His mask was more deceptive because his covered everything he was and everything he wanted, but mine were more damaging to me than his was to him. My true self died beneath those masks, his only waited beneath his. We wore our masks willingly, happily even.. for a short time. One day, he grew tired of his and chose to strip it off and allow his true self to show. There was no room for me in his life then, not the me I was before the masks or the masked me standing before him. Realizing they did nothing to help, I removed mine as well. Stripped of my masks, I had no idea what to do with myself. Alone, naked to the world with no sense of self, I chose to rebuild. It was (and still is) a journey of self discovery. I have experienced an awakening of my true self through writing, photography, creative crafts, and education. I have become myself again, only a stronger, more honest version of myself that I am unashamed to show to the world. Do I still wear masks? We all do. I would be dishonest if I said no. I sometimes put on a mask of confidence when I'm not feeling particularly confident. I adopt certain personas in certain situations because they are required. The difference now is that I wear the masks, they do not wear me. I can slip them off and not be naked. My sense of self is strong and will not be denied. I think he is still searching for his sense of self. I know he has put his mask back on a few times since he first removed it, but he has since removed it again. I wish him luck on this journey and hope he finds his true self one day.

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