Tightening the Mask

maskandmemoriesYou want to know something funny? I find that the more I expose who I am to the internet as a whole, the more guarded I become about who I am to myself. There is a strange need for me to put myself on display, but I also have this odd desire to make sure it is the exact me I want displayed. I think this all stems from the fact that I don’t really always like who I am. I’ve talked about that before, I know, but it was censored, hidden. The masks we wear are thick and hard, heavy, and almost incapable of being removed. They are walls that divide the tender parts of ourselves from anything that might hurt us. It’s an armor we don in an attempt to not be so damned exposed all the time.

Exposure, damned open honest exposure.

It’s what we’re all afraid of and it’s what we all really need to be able to come to terms with the bitter rage that floods through our lives.

It’s funny that the masks we wear to hide our personal shame are the same things that rob us of our basic humanity. Without the masks, there would be no hypocrisy. We’d be open and honest with the world. You wouldn’t have the subtle, twisted judgment that permeates every facet of our society. The mock belief that because our mask is more firmly in place we are superior to those around us.

It’s sad that the simple truth is that those of us that tie the masks so tightly to our faces are the ones who are the most inferior as people. The more we hide ourselves, the less we are known, the less we can know enlightenment.

The guarded nature of humanity is it’s greatest weakness. It is our downfall.

Isn’t that a shame?

Why do we do it to ourselves, anyway? We do we attribute arbitrary rules on our own happiness? What is it about people that makes them so ashamed to be people?

Is that the final joke that God has played on humanity?

I don’t have those answers for you. I don’t’ really have any answers for you.

The truth is, I have masks. Yes, plural. I wear them to serve more and more purposes. Each act of me requires a different mask. There is the cynical, angry pundit. There is the witty, clever doodlist. There is the loving son and brother. There is the carrying friend. The Leader, the follower, the rebel.

I think I would like to know who I really am at the core.

I’ve been wearing my masks for so long that I’m not sure that I know who the real me is anymore.

Am I the depressed guy, hiding away from the world? Sleeping away my weekends?

Am I the dirty, angry young man, slashing blindly at emotions because feeling anything but pain is far too much for me?

Am I the scared, broken person that I think I am?

I don’t really know anymore, but I think I’d like to.

I’d like to know if there is anything left in here but that dark monstrous fiend that I worry is buried beneath all of it.

Maybe one day, I’ll find a way to put all of the masks down and never pick them up again.

7 thoughts on “Tightening the Mask

  1. Mark says:

    I would doubt you’re a dark fiend, or even a light fiend.  No monster I see in you, Matt.  None at all.  I think like many of us, you’re quite hard on yourself because of your expectations which may or may not be realistic.

    1. But… but.. I have fangs… and claws… and hooves…. oh, and an awesome pitch fork!

      1. Mark says:

        And I have gas, bad dreams and chronic halitosis…what of it?  Oh, and a wart on the end of my…

        1. The next word in that sentence shall forever be elbow in my mind. Forever!

  2. Mary Leach says:

    I read an essay by Sam Harris about lying where he argues that is our world would be a much better place if people simply told the truth… always. I found myself agreeing with everything he said and since then I’ve been trying to figure out when and why I lie. 

    (If you’re interested in reading this essay, you can buy it here: http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/lying (I think it’s, like, $3) or you can msg me and I can email it to you. It’s a quick read, but an insightful one, in my opinion.) — I’d love to discuss, if you do read it.I find myself asking the same questions as you and longing to figure it (me) all out. I agree with Mark, too. I see no monster. Thanks for this post, Matt. It really struck a chord with me. 

    We’ll figure it out…

    1. I snagged a copy this morning and have thumbed through it so to speak. I’ll give it a more in depth read later. 

      I’m pretty familiar, actually, with the concept of Radical Honesty (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radical_Honesty), and I am fundamentally against it on a very primal level.

      I like to subscribe to the idea of Sincerity before Blatant Truth. 

      Emotional honesty is the important part, not necessarily saying the raw facts. 

      Otherwise our lives would all be very painful and weak. 

  3. Marynuttall7 says:

    Throw down your masks-you don’t need them. Embrace your inner demons and see that there is more to you. I know you don’t want to hear this from me, but you can be pretty great when you let your guard down…. have a good day, take a bath if your dirty, and quit sleeping away your weekends-its pretty great out here. Come join the rest of us.

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