I quite often get good idea’s for some of these posts from other people. Pam and I were talking about this and she said I should write one about all the different masks that people, including us, wear. You know the one you put on for your work life or the one you wear for your friends. I just wonder sometimes how many the “normal” person has.
For me personally, I used to do this a lot more when I was younger. As I’ve aged, I could care less what some people think of me. I still do have a few that I wear. Do you?
There were a lot of times in my life where I was really unhappy but my need to make sure nobody worried about me, I hid behind a mask and just acted like things were fine. Rosy in fact. I guess that was my Mary Sunshine mask. Then you have the work one where you don’t really show a whole lot of your true self because you have a job to do. You are expected to act and be a certain way so you adjust that mask. You’re still who you are but you smooth down any rough edges you may have.
I also had a “friend” one. One that I wore to people who were really more of an acquaintance than a friend. You may hide certain things that these people may not approve of so you don’t really lie, you just don’t say. You just keep certain private things, private.
There is also a “painful” mask that if you’re hurt, you just put on for one reason or another. You may not be ready to share or shed it but you don’t want to cause worry or you may be ashamed. In the case of abuse or childhood trauma, we may feel guilt so on that mask goes. Everything is fine if you don’t acknowledge it or aren’t ready to heal yet. Sometimes I’ve known people who have worn masks like these for most of their lives. The emotional mask to me is the hardest one to shed.
Like I said before, I don’t do this much anymore. I feel this is the way I am and if you don’t like it, adiós. I still have my “out in public” mask that I’m not sure you can ever get rid of. It’s not like you can say what you really think at all times for fear of being seen as a total jerk. Because most times you get annoyed or irritated, it’s really a small thing that will pass in a few minutes and it’s best to keep some thoughts in your own little head.
I can honestly say there are only a handful of people, and that is on one hand, that REALLY know the real unmasked me and I am secure in the fact that no matter what, I can totally be myself with them no matter what. I can sit with them and try putting a mask on but they know me to well and come right out and say, this is me, who are you kidding and it is a good feeling.
What Pam and I wondered is how many do most of us have? Do you find yourself often wearing to many masks or are you one of the lucky ones who never does this?
today I’m wearing the snarky bitch mask…oh wait that’s not a mask 🙂
ahhh very deep question. I think if anybody said they NEVER wear a mask (which was going to be my first answer till I thought about it they/I would be wearing a mask of denial)…
MOST of the time I can go without a mask. I just kind of gave that up a couple years ago. I played that whole church mask game…but after peeking out behind my mask I saw what that game really looked like and didn’t like it. So now I’m pretty much maskless. I’ll wear one when the occassion calls for it though. Sometimes the snarky bitch just has to be covered up with a phoney fake ass smile. Not often but sometimes.
wow great question!!
see you WEAR your masks of emotion? Did I read that right? Cuz I throw on that phoney happy smiley mask to cover the other emotion faces up. Isn’t that kind of strange how we all will wear the mask different.
I have had many masks I have worn in my lifetime,after awhile it gets very hard and I am exhausted.With my significant others,I wore masks all the time.They seemed to like who I was,then I commit to the relationship and it all changes.I fight it,try to stay true to me.But in time I Got tired and I cave in,and I would be who they wanted me to be.So My mask would emerge.But the thing of wearing a mask,being who someone else wants me to be,I lose myself in time.And I have found that sad.I have been abused in many forms in my life.I know i felt hurt,betrayal,saddness,unloved,unwanted.So further down in life I already have low self-esteem,just wanted to be loved for me and unconditionally.Then you are faced with some people who think you need to change or be a certain way.I fought it,and as usual I would cave in and put on my mask.Denying who i really am.Cause I am more of a peacmaker,I hate fighting and confrontatons.I have gotten better the last 3 years.I had a year of intense councelling that was so awesome and life changing for me.But I jumped into a relationship when I was still so raw from all my councelling.And then my dad,my hero died.I was so much in the grieve of my dads death,i didnt see all the warning signs.I DID it again.I have been wearing a mask for almost 3 years.But I DONT want to do this anymore.So for the last 3 months I have slowly been taking my mask off.The mask of being someone I am truly not.It is so hard to take it off.I feel so vulnerable.I have worn different masks for most of my life.Yes the real me merges occasionally.I look at the masks as my way of protecting PAM.To go with the flow to me was easier then the confrontatons.But,its time I be Me.And I dont think the real me is all that bad.I like ME.So thats my take on masks.I could write more,lots more.On the wearing of my masks,to what it does to your soul and mind.How I have learnt to overcome the urge to pull out one of my many masks,but chose not too.I sjould write a book,just for me to read over when I need to realize how unhappy I really am under one of my masks.I look at life different now.Lifes to short.I will be me.
Yes, you and I really are a lot alike. I hate the fighting and confronting too so I just “act” like everything is fine but I think, at least for me, I don’t want to do that anymore. I just want to be myself and I guess if people don’t like it, oh well TO BAD for them. It’s so much freer to be who you really are.
The hardest part of taking the masks off is people wonder what’s wrong because they are so used to seeing you act perfect all the time. I guess the bottom line is people who only want things from you and only want you to be like they want you to be don’t really care about you to begin with and I don’t need those kinds of people in my life.
Most of the time I walk around with a smile on my face.
If needed, I can get VERY animated!
So you wear the happy mask? Doesn’t that get tiring and wear on the inside of you? What if you don’t feel like smiling all the time? Because really, nobody is “happy” and “smiling” all the time. What if you just want a “grumpy” moment and someone else thinks you should be smiling? Then are you not really smiling for someone else and not because it’s the way you feel?
Joy, my dad died 21 years ago of hypertension. He was only 57. I do have a smile on my face because I realize that I have control over my emotions, not others! If someone is having a “moment.” let them. It is their moment, not my moment. If I need to get animated, believe me..I have no problem making facial expression that can “kill.” I only use them when family and friends are not being treated like I think they have a right to be treated! 🙂
Okay, I understand now. I didn’t read it the right way the first time. I read it that you just smiled all the time and not what was “under” it.
Ahh great post! It’s a very personal one too. I know I have masks and still wear some. After a long tiring day with kids who scream and poop, spit, and throw up on me, I wear my happy mask when it’s time for the parents to pick them up. Sure I might have thought it was a crappy tiring day but all in all I have the best job and I shouldn’t complain. It is starting to get to me though and I’m not sure how long I can continue to put that mask on. I may just retire it soon. I say that but I’m not sure I ever will.
I have the “braveheart” mask, I use that whenever I have to do something out of my norm, out of my comfort zone. I’ll do it but inside I’m scared as all hell!
I generally have a smile on my face or at least have a good attitude, I don’t think that’s a mask though. I like to be happy and not just for myself but the people around me. I don’t do it for them but if I’m in a bad mood and take it out on the people around me, that puts them in a bad mood. That’s not fair, so I try to forget about the bad when I’m around other people. Do you consider that a mask? I don’t know.
The “Work” and “Braveheart” masks are very normal masks. Don’t you think? I mean you can’t very well act mad to parent’s who come to pick up their kids at the end of a day so you act smiley and happy. The “Braveheart” is one too that we wear when we are afraid or out of our element.
Being in a bad mood is also normal. I know you can’t take things out on people but there is nothing wrong with letting Bailey for example, know that life is not all sunshine and roses all the time. Don’t you feel that’s setting him up for unreal expectations? He’ll grow up thinking “my mom’s happy all the time” and when the time comes, he will compare all women to you and nobody is always in a good mood. YOU KNOW??
When I was going through “all my stuff,” everyone said “oh I thought you were so happy” and I feel I fooled everyone but I didn’t mean to. I just felt it was easier to act like that but sometimes I feel it was selfish of me because when I flipped out, everyone was so shocked and that wasn’t fair of me. I wasn’t being honest. It’s so hard for me to explain. I guess the bottom line is we should all really try more to be ourselves because we lead people to think one thing about us and it couldn’t be more the opposite.
There is a time when we all I think need to or should put on our polite mask or a smile when we really dont want to.And the brave mask…I can handle anything,I use that but otherwise I believe i am pretty true to who I am.Its a heck of alot of work being something your not and I plain dont have the energy for that.If you dont like me or cant handle the”real” me you dont have to be around me.Its so wonderful and freeing being your authentic self..life’s to short to live differently.
I really only have one mask. I’m one of the luck one’s I suppose but I think most men only wear one mask. I look how I feel. I’m a pretty easy going guy so my mask is usually a happy one.
Now if I’m in public and I’m sick or something, I put on a “non sick” mask but for the most part I just wear my one mask. 😀
Deep man, deep! No really this is a great post!
I have worn my share of masks and to some extent that is just part of life.
I used to wear the “I have a great family” mask when I was a kid so my friends didn’t know that my parents were alcoholics and abusive to each other. They got divorced and I got to put that mask away, thank goodness. I have recently figured out that my kids have now found that damn mask for themselves and I am trying like hell to break it into pieces for them.
I think as you get older you wear fewer and fewer masks because you get to a point were you actually start liking yourself and you figure out that is what really matters the most.
Great Post! Thought provoking, I would have to really think about it to give a good answer. I do think most people have a selected few friends, that they feel like the person really “Get’s” them. Maybe that’s why they are called BFF’s. It is really nice when you feel safe to really be all of who you are warts and all and to still be loved. I feel this way about my Husband which I really appreciate. As I get older I’m trying to feel less apologetic about some things. To realize I am who I am and to relax more into that. And the one thing that helps is to realize how much most of us have in common. Even the things we may feel so alone about.
P.S. I Love Your Blog! One other thing I thought about is being Authentic. Something I have learned in the last couple of years is to be more vulnerable and to show that to others. I think growing up I had the strong mask. I was out on my own at a very young age taking care of myself. Deep down I probably was terrified. But what I showed was to be very stoic it was to protect myself probably. When I look back I feel sad that I had to be so strong and didn’t have the feelings of feeling safe to be or show vulnerability. Now as I am getting older I feel safer and realize That we all have many sides and that we don’t have to be happy all the time or strong all the time. To go with the flow of life sometimes life sucks. And I found people will still Love you even when you are occasionally Bitchy or Sad or Depressed or want to be alone or afraid or even terrified.We all feel like that some times. So that is my freedom to learn that I am still lovable even when I feel not so Lovable or like Little Miss Sally Sunshine.
I used to wear many masks in my first marriage. My “public” mask hid all of the hurt inside when I had to be around family and friends. Thankfully I am out of that situation now. There are still some masks, but not as many.
I am a lot like you in the fact that the older I get, the less masks I wear.
The “everything is peachy keen” mask comes on when I answer the phone or the door and it’s a neighbor friend for some reason so I know I do it to self protect – you are right, if something is going on with me, I don’t want to let them see my weakness.
Hi Joy, I took your advice & mine & Dixie’s blogs are transferred back to WordPress now as all my bloggy friends are here
Also loved this post. This is one of those topics that is especially close to my heart…When I was 19, I had a crisis moment w/ the whole mask wearing gig….up until that point I was a social chameleon. My girl friend (now my wife ) was getting ready to break up w/ me because of this very issue, it was like an emotional dam burst in my heart… I never went back to my chameleon ways, not to say I might handle myself differently in different situations, but I feel so much more alive ..and as a couple of you touched on, I do think the older we get, the less we are tempted to wear a mask..that peer pressure BS is for the birds…
Great post! It really made me think… Like you, I only have less than a handful of people who sees the real, unmasked me, but I also realized that there is not one single person that I NEVER wear a mask for. Even the people closest to me don’t always need to know exactly how I am feeling all the time.
Sometimes, I put on a mask to look in the mirror.
Here is a question: How does it make you feel when people ask you what you are thinking about?
Nobody has really asked me that in a REALLY long time. I guess nobody really cares that much.
That was a good guestion.What are you thinking about?You need a morning coffee buddy you trust,ask the ? everyday.Everyday would be different.I had a friend were we did that everyday.We are still BFF.but our lives have become so busy,that we do it now every couple of weeks.But i look forward to those indepth talks.I love them 🙂
Joy hands down this is one of your best evers and so very true, we all wear masks even if we don’t want to admit it sometimes. There are only a handful of people, quite literally that I can count on one hand, who know the whole me and with whom I am the real me, you are one of them.
I still have many masks though some of them, as time moves forward, get placed in the cabinet of memory as lessons.
The blog header made my day, those are my favourites – ironically symbolic in their form.
Beautiful post huns, I’m bowing!
Thanks San. Sue took that header pic on Mother’s Day. We all went to plant flowers and this was in their garden. Aren’t they gorgeous?
I loved this post, Joy. I think probably one of the greatest things about getting older is realizing you don’t need to hide behind so many masks. Just like you said, nowadays, if someone doesn’t like who you are, then buh-bye to them and who cares, right? I think that is the wisdom of life experience, and I wish we could all learn to accept that knowledge upon hitting puberty, instead of adding more and more masks to hide the turmoil of emotions and situations we need to deal with.
I like what you said.We get to a age were its not worth hiding our true selfs anymore.It way too much work
Paul Laurence Dunbar has a poem called “We Wear the Mask.” I think we all wear them from time to time.
We Wear the Mask
WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!
That is really nice M.
I wear a beautiful mask (:
all the time.
becuz im about peace and love.<33