“Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor…I am Pagliacci.” –Alan Moore

You know the saying, “Don’t judge the book by its cover?”

Well, it’s true.

Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote, “No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”

Oftentimes, there’s a big difference between what we’re able to dope out and interpret about a person, what we see at the surface, and what lies underneath it all.

If we’re afraid the world won’t like us for who we really are, then we try our best to comport ourselves and “behave.”

I frankly don’t know why people do this, I just know why I did it. Because I wanted to belong and be a part, to find my place. I wanted to be welcomed and accepted by the vast majority of people I met, so I did my best to act as shallow as possible.

But you know what they say about funny people actually being the saddest of all creatures, right? But that doesn’t matter, as long as on the outside everything seems to be all right.

Life is kind of like this. Things that seem too scary might look a lot familiar, with just a different look. Things that look too beautiful, simple and amazing might be completely reversed and paradoxical, once the mask is ripped off. People are not what they seem, and you never know, at any moment even your best friend might give you a surprise.

I used to wear a mask for protection. If people didn’t know the ‘true me’, they couldn’t hurt me as much, isn’t it? It’s what I thought. My mask was my armor, my shield, my cover and my defense from the world. Yet sometimes, I found myself wishing that someone knew who I am.

I hope there’s one person, just one out of 7 or so billion, who’s capable of seeing me for who I am. I think we all want that, that one person who decides to love us, no matter what.

But isn’t it true that sometimes it feels as if we’re never who we think we are?

I’m not so sure I want a mask anymore. I want people to see the truth in me, and I want to see the truth in other people. I want to see people for who they really are, without any disguise.

I have always found things that surprise me under masks, but honestly, I guess that’s what makes masks worth lifting. Though it may have taken me a lot of time to figure out, I believe in looking behind the mask.

And you know what?

“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for something you are not.” – Andre Gide

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

     -YK

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