The Masks We Wear

My Long Lost Cousin (LLC) and I went to a local baseball game. Our team was called the Lions. The team had a guy dressed up as a lion as a mascot. The chap in the lion mask growled and scared the children and even some of the adults! I thought this character in the lion mask must get a kick out of being a forceful person. I wondered what he was really like without the mask!

After the game, while my cousin and I were enjoying a beer at our local, my cousin said: “I think I better get a lion mask so I can be bolder and more forceful!”

I smiled.

“Cousin, we all live our lives wearing many masks to cover up our feelings of worthlessness and our inadequacies.”

My cousin screwed his face up like he didn’t believe me. Then he started laughing.

“Wouldn’t if be funny if everyday was Halloween. We could wear our masks and get to know each other before we took our masks off!”

“Well, cousin, we do wear a mask almost all of the time. After a while you don’t know what it is like not to wear one!”

“What scares me is what would happen if all our masks were off! What would be hiding behind them?”

“Right! Who are we really, when the masks come off?”

“Oh cousin, this is like a horror story!”

“True horror is the removal of our masks!”

My LLC had a look on his face like he just saw the Devil!

“We wear many masks every day. One at work, one at home, another with friends and one with strangers. We pretend we’re someone we’re not. Is that right, cousin?”

“Yes, you’re getting the gist of this. There are three basic faces we show to the world. First, there is the person one thinks he is, then the person others think he is, then there is the thing one actually is.”

“That last one, cousin, the one that actually is you, that one is difficult to know.”

“Yes, spot on cousin, there is a great difference between the self that is masked and the deep reality of your inner self.”

“How does all this come about?”

“Well, we start out as empty containers, blank pages, then our parents, teachers and society fill up those containers. So with all this input, who we really are gets covered up!”

“Wow! Cousin, I’ll have to think about how many masks I have!”

“Yes, my dear cousin, the real you is invisible!”

“Do we ever get to see our real selves?”

“Yes, but these moments are rare. There are times when we’re caught off guard, without our masks, and these are moments of sudden revelation. We catch a glimpse of our real selves!”

“So, we do get to peek under the mask once in a while.”

“Yes, cousin, but only on rare occasions, then we return to our masks and we play out the insanity of our lives.”

“Well, cousin, I’ll have to go now.”

And off my LLC went with his bag of masks.

The next day, I went to see the Lions play ball again. The lion mascot was there cavorting on the sidelines. All of a sudden the lion mascot came over to me and took his mask off!


12 thoughts on “The Masks We Wear

  1. I’m glad you enjoy your mask, Cousin Jim.
    But I decided to try it without a mask, to be just who I am!
    It’s very hard to not want to put the mask on sometimes, and sometimes I give in, especially when other people are wearing their masks and hiding!

  2. I looked it the mirror without my mask on and it scared the Hell out of me. I will never take it off again. I actually looked at lot like __________.
    Fill in the blank and enjoy.

  3. Masks have long played a part in history and literature; but that’s a subject for another comment. This newest blog treats the reader to some of Dave’s healthy thinking. It left me with this thought.
    For the rest of the week, I am going to try and guess what style of mask the person I am talking to is wearing. Is he or she a lion or a pussy cat.

  4. Great story with a nice twist at the end. The best mask I wear is when I am taking minutes at Council meetings and am really plotting the next chapter in a novel. Have you ever been in a situation when you are supposed to be concentrating on the task in hand and you can’t stop your mind wandering, no matter how much you try?

  5. I think we all wear masks most of the time. Because the public is very judgmental and we are seeking the approval of others. So we don our masks and go about our daily business. Removing the layers of masks is a difficult task because how do we even know who we really are after a lifetime of wearing masks! To strip away these masks we would have to spend a stretch of solitary time with no one to answer to, no one to judge you but sometimes we are our own worst critic. We would need time to remove each layer of buildup until we could finally figure out who we really are!

  6. Great ending, didn’t expect the twist at the end, I think masks cover up things people may not want to see, but you are who you are.

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