“Our masks, always in peril of smearing or cracking, in need of continuous check in the mirror or silverware, keep us in thrall to ourselves, concerned with our surfaces.” Carolyn Kizer
Protecting our Reputation…
Masks play a significant, positive role in many cultures because they are used to present different aspects of life in a given society. At different points in our lives, we all wear masks. They could be real ones or imaginary masks. We wear real ones for a variety of reasons; entertainment, protection, work, and rituals, but, above all, we wear imaginary ones to maintain a degree of privacy; to protect our thoughts and emotions; even our reputation. If we think about it, every character trait or flaw requires we remove one mask and replace it with another. Masks have both positive and negative connotations and serve a meaningful purpose. They allow us to be full participants on the stage we call life, and we can choose who/what we wish to play. If we inject the play factor, then we can appreciate the different personalities that cross our path.
Humans are far too complex to behave exactly the same all the time or be so readily predictable. So, our friends who say they are exactly who/what we see, have their masks for different occasions too… This is perfectly normal as we wear our masks to reveal or conceal our stories; we decide what is beneficial or good enough to share. Now, to avoid any confusion, this is not about playing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde but about showing emotional maturity; about how adults navigate the world we inhabit. Children might act out, have fits and tantrums, and get away with it but adults must be mindful of outbursts. Plus, as technological advances make our global community smaller, it’s easier to get access to information, and imperative that we pay attention to our behavior; the greater peril is to be forever judged by our missteps.
“Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” James Arthur Baldwin
We Are Good Enough…
In love relationships, especially in the early stages of a courtship, we put our best foot forward and play out our fantasies about the other person. We are on an imaginary stage, trying to prove to each other that we are good enough, and both parties are vying for the best behaved Oscar. Of course, we are good enough but it takes time to take the mask off and just be. As the relationship grows and warms, we drop some of our masks, our defenses, and reveal more. For some, the novelty of maintaining pretensions disappears rather quickly as with the honeymoon stage, while others continue the dance a little longer. Either way, as love propels us forward, the masks come off, slowly but surely.
From Propriety to Prescience…
There are those, in positions of authority, who might wear terrifying masks as a way to intimidate, control, or demand respect from others. But, respect must be earned and that approach is rarely productive. Sometimes, our best, original works and innovations come from brilliant curmudgeons; cantankerous geniuses digging deep into the recesses of their being, triggering our fears and terrors, even our rejections, in order to leave an imprint on man. Yet, even they know their limits and when to curtail their crap.
If you think about it, our masks serve a useful role by protecting us from maligning ourselves and others in public. Do you really want to be around someone who vomits every single offensive thought that crossed their mind? Choosing the right mask, like self-control, is not only about propriety but about prescient judgment of the consequences of our actions. Most of us, as children, learned to wear our masks early because we were taught to find non-violent ways to communicate our frustrations and perhaps the line; “If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything…”
Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k
OOPS!!! Tonight is the last day to confirm we completed Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k. I completed the task yesterday and even took pictures. I was planning to write a post on it for Monday and only realized today was the deadline when one of my buddies posted hers. So, I am officially confirming my completion of the 5k. I did my part yesterday with my friend Esme, a walk/jog, at the Scenic Hudson Park/Peter Peyser Park on the Hudson in NY and will upload the post and pictures on Monday. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL! 8)