Who’s There, Behind the Mask?

Posted: December 27, 2010 in mind, what makes us tick

For a guy whose identity has remained unknown for nearly a year, I surely haven’t been blogging much about masks. Well, I haven’t been blogging much recently, period. With this post I’m addressing both gaps. This is not a return to a regular posting schedule, but then again I haven’t been really gone, as those of you who read my tweets and tumbls know. Now let’s cut the introduction and get to the point.

Have you ever thought that you wear a mask every day? Of course you have. Everybody has. And have you thought that you wear multiple masks every day? One at work, another at home, one more with friends, yet another one with strangers, and so on and so forth. Another familiar thought, isn’t it? So here comes the interesting part, has it occurred to you that by wearing some mask pretty much every minute of your life, you get used to wearing masks so much that you don’t know what it is like not to wear one? It’s like having a name — we all associate ourselves with one, yet this is only a label that helps others identify us. But even trying to imagine a life without a name is hard.

So what if you were to take these masks off one by one? First would go the most familiar ones, those we wear at work and with strangers. Then will come the turn of those that we don’t really count as masks… those that our families and friends see. Then the “I’m alone” mask would come off. Yes, it’s a mask too, since even alone we keep thinking thoughts we’re used to think, makes gestures we’re used to make and seek things we’re used to seek.

And the real question is, what would remain once there are no masks left to take off? What — or maybe who — is hiding behind them?

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Comments
  1. psychicsarah says:

    If my experience is anything to go by….a load of puppies !!!! LOL…

    When I took off the *I’m alone* Mask….there were a load of pups starin’ at me….

    Pups definitely see through masks…cos of course little dogs are taking over the world…didn’t U know?!

    (More serious considered reply to come…I think…)

    Like

  2. Nayara says:

    “What — or maybe who — is hiding behind them?”

    I wake up every morning with this question rouding my mind….and everyday I don’t find the answer. But I keep searching….and it’s a gift to know that we wear masks, because some people don’t even suspect that. You see the cracks, you see the holes but they can’t….

    Like

  3. Danielle says:

    I think I decided awhile back that I didn’t want to hide things about who I was anymore, and I wanted to be accepted for myself even though it is not always easy in the world to just be who you are. And it is still hard to not want to put on the mask sometimes, especially when other people are clearly wearing their masks and hiding because it is easier…And also I have to say though that if it is not safe to really show the real you or where you are at, that’s a big one, you have to keep yourself safe and a mask can be perfect for that,and then be whoever you like! …but not always hiding behind a mask means that you can be honest with yourself and honest with others and make a conscience decision to accept yourself for who you are and where you are at, it means standing up for what you believe in and taking risks that build yourself up to eventually be who you really see yourself as, so that slowly you don’t feel the need to continue to wear your mask in ways you don’t want to! Making choices about being around people who you trust and accept you for who you are will give you the courage not to hide behind your mask and then really you can just be yourself which is what everybody just wants anyway! 🙂

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  4. Ashley says:

    Hmm..I think you lost me a bit on this one 😉 I mean, I follow it just fine, it’s just the point you’re driving at I’m not sure about. Who’s to say what is a mask and what isn’t? At what point do you just start to “be”? I know I’m the grand-champion of (over) thinking so I can see what you mean. But I think you can really only totally “Unmask” once you start to not care what other people think or how they perceive you. And those who really know or care about you already see the true you. Isn’t that all that matters? “Those who matter don’t mind..” You get the point 🙂 I think there is a long stripping away process that you must do for your own self–that’s important. So you can begin to see who you yourself are. As for the rest, you have to just step up and say it doesn’t matter. Not to the point of total disregard of others but I think you know what I mean. There will always be a reason for us to put on certain masks: fear, defense, approval, ect. But only until you are at peace with yourself and those close around you, will you truly be Unmaskd.
    Hopefully that made some sort of sense..

    Like

    • psychicsarah says:

      I am convinced that only a loooooong stretch of *solitary* time fully strips us of our Masks…

      Getting to that point (or being put there by life’s cunning design) … *That* point where we feel forgotten, abandoned… like no one really cares any more…Only then are we forced to look at ourselves and not at what we expect from others.

      More often than not others simply reinforce who we *think* we are anyway…Projection, expectation and role playing probably forms the bulk of our human relating experience (sadly). Whatever role we play or project in relation to a particular person is our Mask in that moment.

      It is only when we are stripped bare of that kind of dependency that a maturing occurs which ironically brings us right back to the devil-may-care innocence of childhood. To the simplicity of the *moment*

      Only when U we go deeeep within are we able to come clean without…

      But we can’t force the process….Life will only put us into the deeeeep recesses of the rabbit hole if we can cope with what we are going to find there…

      As for Masks they have their uses…Its just that when we come out on the *other side* any Mask wearing thereafter is more conscious, deliberate….and errr dangerous?!

      Like

  5. Diane_Can says:

    Very true, Mr. Unmasked.
    I like to connect to what I REALLY am feeling…to not BS, at least to myself. Then, I like to honor those feelings by telling myself the truth about their existence and, when necessary, having the balls to communicate these feelings to someone else. Then, I feel integrated, more complete and comfortable in my OWN skin. Ahhhhh.

    Like

  6. psychicsarah says:

    I am convinced that only a loooooong stretch of *solitary* time strips us of our Masks…

    Getting to that point (or being put there by life’s cunning design) … *That* point where we feel forgotten, abandoned… like no one really cares any more…Only then are we forced to look at ourselves and not at what we expect from others.

    More often than not others simply reinforce who we *think* we are anyway…Projection, expectation and role playing probably forms the bulk of our human relating experience (sadly). Whatever role we play or project in relation to a particular person is our Mask in that moment.

    It is only when we are stripped bare of that kind of dependency that a maturing occurs which ironically brings us right back to the devil-may-care innocence of childhood. To the simplicity of the *moment*

    Only when U we go deeeep within are we able to come clean without…

    But we can’t force the process….Life will only put us into the deeeeep recesses of the rabbit hole if we can cope with what we are going to find there…

    As for Masks they still have their uses…Its just that when we come out on the *other side* any Mask wearing thereafter is more conscious, deliberate….and errr dangerous?!

    Like

  7. Renee777 says:

    I’ve always wanted to find someone whom I can come home to from work, errands, etc.. and just be myself with and vise versa! I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to follow the crowd and resist conforming to be viewed a certain way to appease my audience.. Having said that, I do have to wear a “HAT” at work because I am only there to do my job and not share my personal side, and a “HAT” with my many of my family members because they’re judgemental and close minded.. But I search to find friendships where I can be myself and be accepted as who I am.. I’m not a good mask wearer! I can only do it for 8 hrs for work but then I have to take everything off when I get home! Which is why I hope and pray to find a man who shares common values, at least when it comes to being together, I want my future husband to lay down all his masks when he’s with me! The good news is that I’v been in love with a man for awhile whom I believe has had to wear many masks in the past, but seems I’m making a positive influence in his life where he can finally let down all his masks and be himself with me!! I know that behind all his masks is a man whom I fell in love with!

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  8. Dawn says:

    I think we all wear masks all of the time, even with those people who love us most, because people are judgmental and most of us are seeking the approval of others in some way. Even people with an “I don’t give a damn” attitude really do want the approval of others on some level. So we all put on whatever mask is appropriate for setting and go on about our business. Peeling those layers away is a difficult task because how do you even know who you really are after wearing all these masks all your life. I think Sarah may be right about spending a long stretch of solitary time being the way to find the answer….time with no one to answer to, no one to judge you but you (sometimes we are our own worst critic) and time to scrub away each layer of buildup until we finally figure out who we really are and what we really want.

    Like

  9. Danielle says:

    🙂 Not getting the emais…very intersting!

    Like

  10. Shan says:

    We all wear masks it doesnt matter what they are. I wore a mask my first full year away from home. It was like I was a different person at night and it eventually caught up with me. Do I still have the mask YES but I don’t use it with such fierce like I used to.

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  11. Leigh says:

    ok fine, i guess i am wearing as mask as i am very very very alone.

    Like

  12. zuie says:

    We briefly discussed this back in April… you had said, “To see the real person you often have to put the mask between your eyes and his/her face. That’s why both Batman and Joker wear masks.” I’m still not sure that I 100% understand this p.s…

    Anywho, questions:
    a) what would remain once there are no masks left to take off?
    b) what — or maybe who – is hiding behind them?

    answers:
    when we take off our masks, what remains is simply emotion- the root behind our actions, expressions, words, thoughts, etc. if we see ourselves as hiding behind masks, then we (mask-wearers) are fearful of our own judgments as well as how others perceive us. i don’t know a time when i’m not wearing a mask, unless i’m just by myself… but with me i have 2 minds (a whole ‘nother story) so in addition to the masks, i have a lot of inner conflicts that i’ve been trying to straighten out. actually, this question you ask is interesting, because i’ve been trying to uncover the “real” me all year. i’ve come to conclude (though this is still a work in progress) that i am the “most me” when i ask myself direct questions. i literally ask myself questions in the 3rd person to decide which directions i want to follow in life and to find out how i truly feel about something. i feel like i’m conducting an interview with myself. it’s these moments that i’m the most introspective and can reach the most genuinely “zuie” answers.

    now i’m not saying that all of those other masks that i wear aren’t me, because everything i do is me. but the masks are me “trying to be” instead of “being.”

    behind the masks is an easier, simpler life. one in which we aren’t exhausted by trying to live up to whomsoever’s expectations. who are we without our masks? probably a lot braver than we give ourselves credit for. i know this is true.

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  13. zuie says:

    “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” – Kurt Cobain

    Like

  14. Momma Magnolia says:

    I have always said if you can live with yourself you can live with anybody. First comes love, love yourself enough to care and know the truth. ” Hope springs eternal.” Faith that it will come to pass.

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  15. JD_278 says:

    I think about this topic. A lot. How can one person exhibit so many various personality traits and pull them all on and off with ease? I think its a defense mechanism. I worry that I display a harsher/tougher mask that covers “who” and “what” I really am (although I’m still figuring this part out too). I feel lin the past I’ve been hurt by simply being me without the mask(s), so its hard to allow yourself to be somewhat vulnerable to others, including myself, for fear of looking/feeling like a fool or risk being hurt.

    I constantly struggle with an acceptable balance of sweet and caring while simultaneously not being a sucker. Sometimes I think I do this well and then other times…not so much. About six or seven months ago I had an ex, who I’ve been split from for several years, tell me completely out of the blue “I’ve never fought with anyone as hard as I fought with you, but I’ve never had anyone fight for me as hard as you did whether I deserved it or not.” I think that’s the nicest compliment I’ve ever received and more importantly it made me start thinking about how I’ve let my masks get tougher over the years hoping the exterior would alter my interior. I’m lucky in the respect I know I’m not a lost cause as far as this is concerned (Definition: I talk a lot of convincing shit, but my heart knows I’m full of it) and I’m so appreciative for the reminder especially from such an unlikely source who at least momentarily didn’t wear a mask and did so without an ulterior motive.

    I’ll eventually get to a point when I’ll let someone, or several people, see me with wet hair and no make-up both externally and internally, but for right now I’m trying to make myself comfortable with seeing this version of myself again. I just hope she has aged well and doesn’t have too many wrinkles.

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  16. MM says:

    I don’t think I see it this way. 🙂

    We are who we are, obviously. Right? Most definitely not perfect to everyone but we do possess the most perfect potential to evolve into better versions of ourselves if we allow ourselves the space and time to, if our potential is nourished and inspired and most importantly, if we believe we can evolve. We are all perfectly unique unless we put on a generic mask to hide behind.

    Living life as though behind a mask seems like an ingenuine presentation of our self to the world. Is that what it takes to make it go round?

    Describing life as constantly living behind masks, seems so disconnected and exhausting and very uncomfortable. Not that life is always easy, or comfortable or relaxing but it is connected to our own energy and to the energy of the people we let in- hopefully genuinely good people.

    Maybe I’m not like most according to your post but I feel as though I’m me most moments of time, a person with a core that is rooted but strenghtens by trying new things. A soul ensconced within a shell that is inevitably transient through time but essentially, I am me all the time and I like me. If I don’t feel quite like ‘myself’, it is usually because I’m probably channelling an energy that needs me to help it evolve, which in turn helps me evolve as well. But that’s another dimension entirely. 🙂

    Unless my actual profession requires a mask for let’s say- physical protection, which may just be the reason behind one’s metaphorical mask per say, the only thing I truly feel I should be wearing, is my heart on my sleeve. And of course clothing…if need be…and masks for sure, in my fantastical boudoir.

    Just wondering have you been loyal to your personal manifesto- from awhile ago?

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    • psychicsarah says:

      Really agree!

      I don’t think I have ever consciously worn masks; or had to…(one of the benefits of working for myself perhaps?). I have always been true to myself and done my own thing;which is of course to follow my heart…Okay it has got me into difficulties and trouble…but at least I know I have always done what I felt I was meant to do in each moment; that which felt right deep-down-inside…

      But as per previous thoughts …there is definitely a deeper and still deeper place we can go within which puts us even more in touch with our authentic self.

      This *Get Real* recognition comes at that point of complete vulnerability and surrender…when we are stripped bare…devoid of any thoughts, hope or place to hide.

      It is the point at which our dreams and expectations appear to have been exhausted…

      This emptying, may seem drastic and akin to giving up. But what it does is create a vaccum which can then be filled up with every good thing.

      I think in this empty (apparently hopeless) silence we are in fact at our most creative and receptive. It is in this silence if we really listen, that we will hear our destiny calling.

      All we have to do is find that still small voice within … that potent little voice which finds it impossible to talk through the masks worn by ourselves and others.

      Don’t forget that even though we may wear our hearts on our sleeves we may still be linked in karmically with those who don’t.

      Other peoples’ masks can be just as problematic if not more so than our own …

      I mean…Just HOW do you permeate a *Mask* ?

      Lol…

      Like

    • unmaskd says:

      >> Just wondering have you been loyal to your personal manifesto- from awhile ago?

      Good question. The honest answer is, yes I have. But this is something different. It is not about being myself. It’s questioning whether what I consider myself — that set of habits, beliefs and ideas — is just another unconsciously worn mask. Because had I been born in a different place and different time that set would have been different, even that *core me* would have been the same.

      I probably should stop here before you guys think I’ve been smoking something heavy 🙂

      Like

      • psychicsarah says:

        Yes, in a different time & a different place…your *essence*, spirit, and the core you would still be the same…your heart would be the same.

        (Unless you believe we are the sum total of our environment and conditioning which of course many scientists n philosophers do)

        If U believe in reincarnations, karma and past lives then the arguments for the continuance of your *soul* through time and space are stronger…

        The question is would your soul still be recognisably YOU if you had been born in Nepal in this life time…? Yes!

        You are you and your soul’s essence is the same down through the ages or even with a change of environment in this lifetime…

        I guess you are where you are for a destiny reason…though of course you can always change where you are with a destiny choice.

        People definitely demonstrate different traits in different environments. But the depth of the Soul and the integrity of the heart is pretty much unchangeable…

        OKay the heart can get wounded and shut down. But the same heart can reopen and blossom again.

        Mm…mayb I’ve been smokin’ something heavy hahahaha…

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      • Sunshine says:

        Unmaskd, Interesting concept you state about questioning what you consider “yourself” comprised of a set of habits, beliefs and ideas as perhaps another unconsciously worn mask. I think beliefs and ideas change/grow/evolve and habits are most often acts of putting yourself on auto-pilot or what we repeatedly do.
        True Self=Heart
        So would our true “self” be the way we think about something and express it? Or is “self” what we do and the reason we do it? We are all original in the sense that there is no one exactly like us (at least not until they successfully clone people–but that would be a copy and the copy still is not the exact same as the original). “Self” has to be the heart–but what is the heart? Is it the soul? Is it thought + action or is the heart the same as the core? Is the heart love and hate to various degrees and all thoughts and choices stem from it? Yes, I really think everything flows from the heart and the heart is self. Imagine if we all had monitors on our foreheads showing our thoughts…what would that look like?
        P.S. Sometimes you tell us you should stop. What would happen if you kept on going–we

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  17. psychicsarah says:

    LOL!!!! hahahhahaha all (((Hugs)))) gratefuly received…

    Like

  18. Sunshine says:

    Why do we hide? It starts when we’re babies with peek-a-boo and then as children we play hide-and-seek. Escape. We all all seek ways to do it whether we realize it or not. It comes out in avoidance, addiction, procrastination, or anything we find to numb or divert the mind. Perhaps even our creativity, self expression and exercise, all of which seem to be healthy outlets are also a form of escapism. Why and what do people want to hide/escape from? Why have we become such an instant gratification society? It takes 30 years for complete change to occur in a society, so what we’re seeing today started 30 years ago! In life we are doing one of two things, either trying to recreate our past or reinvent our future.

    “What would remain once there are no masks left to take off?”

    I think behind every mask the heart remains. Everything we do flows from the heart–it cannot be masked and is always revealed in the end.

    Like

  19. Dear Unmaskd,

    I questioned a “name” once… asked him what his really meant. Not in terms of the meaning of the name in general, rather, what does it mean to be called “this name” to said person. I don’t really remember if he answered me or not… but the question itself came from the deepest parts of my lack of a name. My name is Jennifer… I don’t get what that means. I guess it means to be the person responding to the particular thoughts of a masked blogger… and when I sign off the internet “Jennifer” will mean being the person going to bed.
    My name means to be… it is what I am. And since what I am changes all the live long day/night… then my name also changes, yet still sounds the same.
    I thought I could find closure in my journey towards the meaning of the mask of Jennifer by questioning the “name” of the man I was talking about… and in a way I did find the courage to take my mask off. But since he continues to wear his, I find myself afraid of HIS fear of taking it off for himself. Why does he believe his mask is so much more valuable than mine? It was just as hard for me as it will be for him… maybe he’s addicted to no longer finding affirmation in his name alone… maybe he’s afraid to be alone in general… which would most likely happen if he were to put down the mask and burn it. If he did that and people saw his REAL name… oh god. They would surly turn away and the illusion of his name would dissipate. Of course, I’d still be there… holding his hand the entire time. But maybe he just doesn’t want my hand.
    Who knows!? ha! This is Jen from the rabbit hole signing off.

    Like

  20. Sunshine says:

    Oops! Continued P.S. on Jan. 10th post
    …we are okay with that. Don’t you think it will help get to the heart of the matter?

    Like

  21. Janine Whitling says:

    A very compelling question and one that i’m investigating for an exhibition.
    In my own metaphysical search I have asked the following questions:
    ‘What is the difference between my soul and my spirit?’
    ‘What is the diffference between my soul and my personality?’
    ‘What is a mask if not my personality?’
    and the big one…
    ‘Am I my personality? am I what I do? or am I who I am? my soul if you will?’
    I have answered my own questions and I recognise the masks in myself. I have no doubt that there are only a few who have stripped them away and I am not one of them. But i strive toward it in the recognition that my mask is a reaction to life’s experiences in which at one time or another I experienced hurt and now choose to not be vulnerable. Unfortunately it is to my own detriment because to not feel hurt is to not feel love. You can’t have one without the other.

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  22. I love, love, love this conversation. Just re-iterating the question, how do we know when we are wearing a mask and further more how many masks do we have? Please excuse the need to break it down for anyone with the word usage level of about a fifth grader (this includes the poster). One word comes to mind, that of samskara. Our mind has many impressions with a continnum of intensity. How much time we allow our minds to dance with that thing, may it be called God, Allah, Buddha, may have a proportional effect on the effect these samskara have and more importantly our ability to react from a place of light, love, peace; insert whatever word feels best. Failure to allow ourselves the time to dance in whatever way(s) we feel best expressing ourself breaks down our resiliency. Each time we are inspired to act from a place of light, love, and/or peace and feel rejected, our imagination creates a mask for protection to be worn when we sense the potential for that particular intensity again but time spent with that thing allows us to see the masks for what they are. Once the masks are acknowledged, maybe we see that inspiration too has a infinite spectrum. The colors we choose represent the type of mask we might need for the moment. Each one is a part of us to be loved and accepted. With acceptance comes the ability to react from that place known as our core. Acting from the core we are once again unmaskd.

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