I always wonder who else feels like this? This is an older writing of mine but felt it worthy of reprinting.

I have often wondered about the person behind the mask. Why does he wear it? What does it hide? Is he an innocent soul inside, who thinks that everyone is his friend and that no one would ever hurt another living creature? Would he be the one that would offer a smile and a hand up to anyone that needed it while he falls apart inside and hopes that someone would see through his one act play and come to the rescue? Is the mask the mask of a tough guy who can handle anything and make everyone think everything is ok in his world?
Maybe it's the opposite. Maybe the mask hides an angry man who thinks that he has been shortchanged in life and everyone deserves an extra dose of hard times to make it even. Would the mask then reflect a more spiritual character who IS everyones friend but reaches out his hand thinking that everyone will get theirs and he wants to be there when their world crumbles around them so he can get his kicks in. Either way, the person I look at in the mirror in the morning is the last person that will see the real me. Every defense, every hurt, every experience that I go through adds another layer to that mask. Slowly, it demenishes from that reflection in the mirror, taking pieces of innocence and hope with it. It makes me the person that others see. Do I want them to know what lies behind the skin of that perfect mask? Or does it fit too well? Sometimes I get caught with it fitting loosely and some may get a glimpse of the hidden child. I then catch myself and pull that mask tighter. I have a moment every now and then of weakness, maybe someone made me feel too comfortable and I get caught without my mask, maybe someone will take advantage of me but the mask keeps the madman hidden.
The mask hides the nice guy, the mask hides the madman. The mask portrays who I have to be to exist in this world of selfishness and hostility. I take the mask off before bed but it is within my grasp. I just dont know what color it will be the next time I put it on.

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