Masking the Truth

Sep 8th, 2009 3:43:00pm

It has recently occurred to me that I have been described as “cold” rather frequently this past year. I am sincerely hoping, as I had not the heart to ask, that they meant it in the context of me being very calm on the surface, and not referring to the less flattering description of being unemotional and robotic. I find it amusing they call me that at all, for in truth I “freak out” quite easily.

This brings to light how often we hide our true selves, our real emotions and reactions to the things around us. Why? Why do we wrap the cloak of a whole other personality over the one we have now? Smiling when all we want is to cry, keeping a stoic face when all we want is to punch something, laughing when inside you just want to curl up and die… Everyone has their own personal reasons, but did I not say in a previous column that everything we do has no true reason at all? One could say they put on a mask because they are afraid of others seeing them for who they are. What if who they are is more amazing than what they pretend to be? The argument would be, “What if they’re not and are just hiding a horrible, evil self?” Well, we won’t be able to figure that out until the disguise has fallen apart. We won’t be able to help the person, if help is possible, unless we see what needs that help.

The desire to keep things bottled up is present in many, many people. Sadly, probably more than there are people who are not afraid to be themselves. We feel other’s emotions are more important than our own; our emotions are invalid, unjustified, and stupid. We quell them, keep them at bay, suppress them and push them down into the farthest recesses of our hearts. First, it’s hard, having to hide what makes you you. However, as time passes, it gets easier, until it has become second nature. At this point even if you wanted to you wouldn’t be able to bring those emotions to surface, so deep have you buried them. It starts to build, after a while. All you have kept inside for so long, never letting go, begins to demand release, pounding harder against the container you imprisoned them in, and you have to explode, let it out somehow. Sort of reminiscent of a volcano, no?

Sometimes even our talents can never be displayed, because we are afraid of being teased for them. Also because we are scared they are not as significant as we thought they were, that they’re not special, and that if we show them to someone else those suspicions and doubts may be confirmed. We might even be ashamed of them, as they may not coincide with the expectations and desires of others.

It all boils down to fear, doesn’t it? Fear of being ourselves, because of fear of ridicule and mockery; fear of us not being good enough; fear we’ll never be good enough; fear of not being as “perfect” as we think people want us to be. So we build walls, we wear masks and hide behind them. We act. And what a draining performance it is.

Maybe one day, no one will ever feel the need to act anymore. Maybe one day we can all unashamedly, unabashedly and completely be ourselves, without dwelling a single thought on what people might think or do or say. Maybe one day, we won’t put on a whole new face for the world, but display our own with pride. One day, we might be able to remove our veils completely, instead of just bit by bit, or not at all. Maybe one day we won’t be so afraid.

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