We All Wear Masks

by Erin Honor

As per usual, it has been a while.

I started this blog after having deleted my healthy living blog that I had had for around three years. Why did I do this? Because I was sick and tired of feeling that I had boxed myself into a specific category that was not represented of my whole self. Did I start that blog because I have a passion for health and fitness? Yes. Did I also maybe start it because I knew that people enjoyed healthy living blogs and that it could maybe get some hits? Yes. What resulted was a resentment of writing posts (which is lame because the whole point of starting a blog is expressing yourself in a way that you love) and my ultimately deleting the blog.

So this little piece of the internet that you are currently viewing came into existence. I gave it a name that did not limit it  to one category and was stoked on what I could possibly do with this fresh new blog.

And I drew a blank on what I wanted to do.

I have written couple of posts that I have been pretty proud of (and a couple people even commented on them… which made me way happier than it probably should have)… But I still don’t feel like writing most days. I feel like I have lost my love of the one thing (writing) that I felt was my calling in life.

I think that a lot of us do this… Life and emotions and health gets in the way and slowly, piece by piece, we begin to lose the parts of us that make us the unique human beings that we are.

When I was in middle school, I was picked up constantly. I had textbooks thrown at me as the boys chanted, “emo! emo!” in the stairwell. I got told I was a freak because of the music that I listened to and because of the books I read and way that I drew. All the things that I loved growing up became catalysts for ridicule. There must have been something wrong with me for liking these things if they were so “weird.” Liking these things, these things that helped fill me up and make me whole, became bad and wrong.

So I slapped on a mask and moved forward.

I entered 9th grade with my mask superglued on. No one would know that I listened to Five Finger Death Punch or read manga or drew “that weird Japanese shit.” I had been told so many times that the things that I loved were shameful. I knew that I had to put my entire life force into hiding it all.

It went surprisingly well. I somehow managed to live with the mask on and very rarely let it slide off. I had a decent amount of friends and a social life. Whenever I walked down the crowded hallway on my way to class, at least one person would always say my name and say hello. I was happy.. I thought.

The thing about wearing masks is that eventually we have to take them off. When you live your life wearing a mask, you are essentially concealing your spirit from the world. You spirit does not want to be hidden. It want to reveal itself to the entire world so that you can accomplish all that you are meant to in life. Hiding your spirit is unnatural and leads to nothing but a sense of disassociation from your own soul and extreme exhaustion.

I had a friend in middle school who, at some point between 7th and 8th grade, suddenly got popular. She started wearing lip gloss and carrying a little Vera Bradley purse and straightening her hair. She started flipping her head backwards and laughing too loudly whenever a boy was around. She rejected the manga that she had once enjoyed with me in favor of Seventeen Magazine. She also rejected the friends that she had once called her own in favor of the cool girl crowd.

I remember looking at her with a mixture of confusion and awe. Part of me was impressed (and maybe slightly jealous) that she had somehow managed to make her way into the popular crowd; the other part of me was just gobsmacked by how she in her entirety had changed so drastically so quickly.

The thing was, she hadn’t changed. Not really. She had simply started to wear a mask to school and had donned it well.

I remember hanging out with her one-on-one (which was shocking given her new-cool girl status) once and thinking about how different she seemed in comparison to how she was at school. She seemed… lighter. And she was.

Masks are heavy and weigh our souls down; this is the only way that they are able to suppress the true self. The feeling of removing a mask after wearing it all day, whether it be at school, work, or the like, is perhaps the most relieving there is. The true self bounds up like a jack-in-the-box and yells happily when it is freed.