We wear the mask (9-19-2013)

” WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
    This debt we pay to human guile;
    With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
    And mouth with myriad subtleties…” (http://www.potw.org/archive/potw8.html)

For some reason this poem has been running through my mind lately. I haven’t read it since high school, and yet those first two lines have stuck with me so clearly these past 8 years. I can’t help but wonder what kind of mask I wear. Do I have different ones day to day? I must…right? What do they look like, and why must I hide behind them?

I believe most people would consider me an extrovert, and I am to an extent. I enjoy being around people, having light-hearted conversations, and laughing a night away. But I’m also an introvert. I hold what matters most so close that very few people get to see it. You do it too, I promise.

Ever responded to a “how are you” with a brief, passing “good”, “fine” or “ok” without really considering the question? Yeah, you wore the mask.

Ever tell a little white lie to keep from hurting someone? Yeah, you wore the mask.

Ever pretend to be completely “over” someone that broke your heart because you feel like you should be? Yeah, you wore the mask.

So it’s not just me. We all do it. Is it a sign of weakness? Human compassion? Strength? I guess I don’t really have an answer.

They say “a true friend is someone who sees the pain in your eyes while everyone else believes the smile on your face” (author unknown). While it may be unrealistic to never disguise your own feelings, it’s quite easy to strive to see the truth in others. You never know the profound impact a simple “how are you, really?” can have on someone.

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