Life: The Masquerade

Mask“But I can’t let them know who I really am,” she said over the phone, “because they’d be so disappointed.”

It wasn’t anything news worthy that she thought would leave her friends, relations, and church aghast, just general I-can’t-do-everything humanity.  I said she was human, just like everything else, so she wasn’t perfect, just like everyone else.  But unfortunately my friend thought she couldn’t allow anyone to see behind her carefully constructed social mask.

I think in our culture we learn at a young age that life is a large and elaborate 24/7 masquerade ball and that if you’re going to play the game you have to keep all shortcomings, struggles, pain, and imperfections out of sight … just like everyone else.

Painted Smiles:

Unfortunately, while we watch the endless parade of smiling, confident faces stroll past us on TV, at school, or in the produce section at the grocery store it seems like we often forget we’re even attending a masquerade ball.  Everyone else appears beautiful and well put together—we forget about the shapewear and fake smiles that are involved—making us cling a little tighter to our own masks hoping no one will notice the confident, perfect grins we’re showcasing will smear the next time it rains.

It seems to work like dominos: all it takes is one person deciding to sport a mask, resulting in the folks around them analyze their own wrinkled, pimply faces and deciding a mask is the obvious solution.  It doesn’t take long before there isn’t a single person left who even remembers what it’s like to be transparent, honest, and real.

Scary and Broken:

Society tells us how we’re supposed to be as normal and all-American as The Brady Bunch, but if people truly knew us we’d all probably come closer to resembling The Addams Family—eccentric, a little scary, and just downright weird.  I think we’re all at least a little scary and broken.

I know my friend isn’t alone in feeling afraid to let people see the real her; people are hurting, grieving, living, and dying alone.  And the most heartbreaking part is that there are others who are just as scary and broken as they are, but they’re also hiding behind a painted smile … just like everyone else.


4 thoughts on “Life: The Masquerade

  1. Very interesting read. There have been many times where I’ve shared some of the same feelings that you express, particularly about how people wear masks, and I’ve always tried to avoid that as much as possible.

  2. I often feel that it isn’t quite fair that the world tells us to be real on one hand yet expects us to stuff so much of ourselves behind the mask and present a pleasant and content facade to everyone. We are told not to bottle things up and to deal with the sad, unpleasant, frustrated, and angry things that happen in our lives. But when we try to do so we are condemned for it. It is like ‘don’t ask don’t tell’. Be open, honest and transparent except if it is something other than happiness and good things. Be hopeful, honest and transparent about those in private so no one ever has to see and know about it. We are a culture that is very good at contradictory and mixed messages.

  3. I love this post. Everyone wears masks, yes, but friends shouldn’t wear masks with each other. A friend isn’t a friend until you’ve seen them cry, seen them angry, seen them in the morning with their naturale face 🙂

    I can’t stand the fakeness and I know it’s mean but I won’t talk to you if you’re fake to me.

    Humans struggle. Sometimes we forget people are humans-even the best of them. Therefore people struggle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s