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Behind the Mask

Updated: Aug 6, 2021

Today, if you look around almost everyone that you see out in public will have on a mask. Mask wearing is quite common today but was unheard three years ago. Mask wearing is a result of a virus that has been causing a large number of sicknesses in people and in some cases death. Mask wearing and the discussion of it has been ongoing for over a year. To wear a mask or not to wear a mask, you choose. Mask are used to either keep something in or prevent something from getting out.

A few days ago, I had a very interesting conversation with a close friend, and it became clear to me that they were using a mask to keep something in. My friend whom I will call Chuck and I were discussing a business matter. I asked Chuck if they had any plans to publish the collection of poems that they had written over the years. Chuck said they had only released one of the poems for a special occasion but the others they have not considered releasing. Chuck began to explain to me their method of writing. Chuck said, it’s like when things get rough or they are dealing with a difficult situation they will put those feelings down on paper, once they capture the mood on paper, they will read what they wrote, then they are able release what they are dealing with. I respond to Chuck that, that was a good strategy.

Chuck shared that if he did publish the poems that he would not use his real name, he would use a different name. Knowing how inquisitive I am, I asked why he would not use his name to publish his catalog of work. Chuck’s response was that he would not want people to know it was him. I asked what name he would use, and Chuck responded with the middle name of one of his childhood friends. I had to agree that the name was unique and had a high level of sophistication about it.

As we continued with our conversation, Chuck said that the first time that his friend from middle school told him their middle name he instantly knew he liked the name and thought that it was cool but being a young kid, he could not let on that he liked the name, so he began to make fun of his friend. He said that whenever he saw his friend from school, he would always make a joke about his middle name. I found this particularly odd and asked why he was, secretly liking his middle name but never told him. Chuck said he couldn’t tell him that he liked his name, because it was just something that he did not do. Chuck said they grew up teasing each other, they created games to see who could crack the most jokes on the other one. That information was a bit disturbing to me, and I did not understand the reasoning behind it, but okay. I told Chuck that by not opening up and complimenting his friend on his middle name, he was hiding behind a mask, not the type of face covering that is visible but the type of mask that hides a person’s true feelings.

Today I believe that masks are still being used to block true expressions in some friendships. Some people are good at hiding and not expressing their true feelings about a person or a thing. The joking and teasing are used to provide a covering and as a way to protect one’s feelings or from showing vulnerability. The joking and teasing could have a negative effect on the person that is being teased mental state. The hiding of one’s true feelings could create insecurities within a person. My conversation with Chuck caused me to wonder, when are we going to stop using masks, to hide our true feelings? I believe that the time has come for us to remove the mask and express our true positive feelings, you never know it might just be what someone needs to hear. I Will, Will You?

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