I recently joined blogher.com. I signed up for emails from them, and one of them was about something called NaBloPoMo. Naturally, the strange word intrigued me. I read up on it, and it’s basically a bunch of writing prompts with a central theme for the month. October’s month? Masks.
Read more by clicking on the NaBloPoMo badge on my sidebar. The prompt for October 1st is “When you saw the word mask, was your first interpretation protection, covering up, persona, or performance?”
So, here we go.
When I first heard the word mask, I thought of persona. Knowing that the theme was for October and October = Halloween played an obvious role in this.
Masks make me think of covering your own face or personality with the hopes of appearing like someone or something else entirely. When we think of Halloween, we think of pretending to be something we’re not. I know as a kid I loved thinking of what kind of costume I wanted to wear. I loved the idea of getting to BE someone different. I had some fun costumes as a kid: I was Belle, a prairie girl, Felicity (the American Girl doll), Dorothy, a cheerleader, and then your more typical witch and fairy. While I never actually wore a mask for my costumes, I still felt like I became someone different for a while when I was wearing the costume.
I’m not a kid anymore, but even adults hide behind a mask. Only now, the mask is different. It’s not a mask in the literal sense, and it’s not a costume. The masks we hide behind now are much more varied and complex. If we feel unsure or insecure about something, we put up a false front and pretend that we’re totally sure and totally secure. We act like we’re better than others or more important than others in order to better our own feelings of ourselves. (We’ve all known that person who puts us down because they, as our moms told us, need to make themselves feel better).
There are big names in politics and in the media who wear masks. Plenty of people will speak one thing and then do another. It really gets you thinking about what is really going on in other peoples’ heads. Are we all, always wearing a mask? Are we always being true to ourselves? Are we always being honest with our families?
There’s never going to be a solid answer to that, but I think that for plenty of people, they’ll wear a mask at times, perhaps in an awkward or new/strange situation, but 99% of the time are being honest and true to themselves. But for others, I don’t know how true that is. Some people always seem to be hiding.
What do you think?