I like masks. Not the made in China, you can’t breathe through them, Halloween kind from the store at Halloween, but beautiful Mardi Gras masks and hand crafted fantastical masks used in ritual and ceremony, masks made by craftswo/men who put a little bit of magic into them and that can take you to another place, let you be someone completely different and yet authentically you. Masks are an amazing way for us to communicate with ourselves and with each other. And sometimes an overly used metaphor for the prismatic way we live in the world. Work sees one facet of us, our significant other sees a different one, our friends another, and the world at large sees something else. The true you is a complex union of it all plus everything inside, but only you have full access.
Masks can become an issue however, if don’t take them off at some point. What happens if it is time to move on to a new job or the relationship is over or there’s an opportunity to move somewhere new? What if you can’t drop the mask? You get stuck. And you start becoming the mask instead of inhabiting it. The mask begins to wear you, as it were.
If we begin to feel that we are the roles we play, we lose ourselves. Because everything changes eventually. Children grow up and parents become free to live their own lives (yes, parents sometimes are real people with lives of their own), careers end gracefully or abruptly, relationships grow and die, opportunities of all kinds appear every day. If we’re too stuck in who we think we are or who we should be, we can’t set the mask aside even to pick up a new one. And don’t you want to breathe unfiltered air once in a while?