Masks · clowns

Masks-Do They Help Me or Hide Me?

At a discussion group meeting I attend each week the topic was Masks, and although it sounds simple enough, we began to have the following questions:

How many masks do we wear or have we worn?

What masks do we utilize?

Do we change masks as we grow older?

Do masks hide us, protect us, liberate us?

Who are we without masks?

Can we eliminate all masks?

This dialogue put me to wondering about the personas I have employed from an early age to assist, shield, sway, and express myself to others.

I’ve thought of myself as authentic, but in the context of this subject I realize I have engaged many covers; some pretty, some ugly, some truthful, and some not. For instance, I employ the jester role Masks, Clowns, witches, colorful, dull, sophisticated, old, flirt, grumpy,  in many situations, grabbing up a clown mask to make a joke of a serious situation, or to ease tensions.

Other veneers I have donned are through my life are wife, mother, employer, employee, friend, foe, caregiver, child, sister…well, you get the idea.

I can be coy,                                   or a wicked witch,

Masks, Clowns, witches, colorful, dull, sophisticated, old, flirt, grumpy,                Masks, Clowns, witches, colorful, dull, sophisticated, old, flirt, grumpy,  

a grumpy old woman,                   and on a rare occasion a bit sophisticated.

Masks, Clowns, witches, colorful, dull, sophisticated, old, flirt, grumpy,                                 Masks, Clowns, witches, colorful, dull, sophisticated, old, flirt, grumpy,

 

                     A gentle soul,                                                    and at one time a crossed-eyed teenager.

Masks, Clowns, witches, colorful, dull, sophisticated, old, flirt, grumpy,                              Masks, Clowns, witches, colorful, dull, sophisticated, old, flirt, grumpy,

 

 I’m a mixed bag and I have multiple facades that serve me when needed.

Masks, Clowns, witches, colorful, dull, sophisticated, old, flirt, grumpy,

The list could go on and on, but the reality is I show different sides of me depending on whom I’m with, who I want to be with, what I’m doing, and of course, how I feel.

I’ve used masks to hide my true feelings, often to protect myself (or others). I can act sympathetic when in fact, I’m probably silently questioning, “what the heck were you thinking?”

Or, I can whip out the disciplinarian guise to enforce proper behavior traits, only to resort to the same acts behind closed doors.

Small children possess few masks, reacting naturally to circumstances and situations…until they are taught what works and what doesn’t. As the words in the song from South Pacific note, “we have to be carefully taught”.

Lyrics from South Pacific ‘You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught’

You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.
You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

I am afraid of ‘honest’ people, they scare the heck out of me. They may tell me the truth, and, heaven forbid, I would hate that. I don’t want reality to impede on my life, forcing me to look at the facts. Save me from candor. Give me dishonesty! I’m more comfortable living with illusion.

I ask myself if I can live without any of my shrouds: barefaced, real, raw, and truthful?  There is an advantage to being in a different country, or maybe even in a different city. All the wardrobes, disguises, and covers can be released because no one knows who I was before, not even me.

Today I’m rediscovering myself and finding who is behind all those veils. That my friends can be an uncomfortable examination.

 

Masks, Clowns, witches, colorful, dull, sophisticated, old, flirt, grumpy,

So I ask you, what masks do you wear? And do you feel naked without one?

 

(Editor’s Note: I have added to and reworded a few paragraphs of the blog that I posted earlier today. The changes are in italics.)

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20 thoughts on “Masks-Do They Help Me or Hide Me?

  1. I love this topic and so timely as Halloween is neat which is dress up time –
    And check out Paul klee’s “broken mask” sometime – cool art piece and good for discussion
    I also like the way you connected the masks and photos”
    However – some of the items listed remind me of “roles” and not sure I would call them masks – we have to be in a role for effectiveness or professionalism and even though it is only part of us – it is still a genuine part-
    Not being fully who we are at work does not make us disgenuine or mask
    Hiding – it is sometimes professional and discerning – ya know -?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I do know. So when am I sporting a disguise, and when am I being authentic? Sometimes I’m not certain. And masks allow us to set some personal space when we don’t want people intruding into our comfort zone. I have few answers, just lots of questions. And then I must ask…who cares?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We can’t possibly show our most authentic selves to everyone, all day long. A certain distance from others, like politeness, keeps our daily interactions running more smoothly.
    The masks we wear to those that are close to us is a different story, but sometimes necessary.
    Thought provoking post!

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    1. Thanks, Lyn. The idea of masks certainly has kept my mind engaged for awhile lately. Especially here in SMA, every week there is another parade with people donning masks for every occasion. It started me playing with the importance of masks and what meaning they convey. Will see your Dad next month when I’m in LG.

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  3. I have had several roles in my life, and I think I put on the ‘appropriate’ mask for each of them. I was a high level manager of many people, and I felt like I was playing manager. I’m the president of a nonprofit and when I’m lobbying I’m playing that role. And when I’m comforting a truck crash survivor or family member, well, then the nurturing mother thing comes out, though I have no children. I think I’m only truly authentic when I’m camping in the woods with my dog…but to other people that might appear to be just another mask, the adventurer!

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  4. I suspect we all have several masks – each showing a different facet of our personality. There is the tolerant mask that gets me through a conversation with someone whose beliefs are 180 degrees from mine (although that one seems to slip more often thsee days). There is the mask to cover me when I really just want to be alone and am not. It goes on – but I have always referred to putting my “public face” on when needed.

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  5. I do like your post and the pictures add a sense of fun to the subject while showing us your humorous mask. We all wear our invisible masks don’t we, at times with conscience thought and at other times not. Often we wear the masks we believe others want to see and then there are the masks we wear because we want to limit what they see. Food for thought, thank you Margo 🙂

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