Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Our Many Masks

    We wear masks for many reasons.  We wear them to court, to fight, to praise, to censure, to entice, disguise, and compel.  For every aspect of human behavior, we have created masks to wear to symbolize those activities in a base, or rarefied way.  We wear them to hide ourselves from ourselves; but also, to give us an avenue to reveal our innermost thoughts, and feelings, to ourselves.  Because, lets face it; we scare ourselves with what we are capable of feeling, from time to time.  And thinking, feeling people, need a way to let these things out of them, without harming those they love by word, or deed.
    And so, masks.  We have brought them with us from the dim times; the times before written language, the times when we huddled frightened, and ill-nourished, in a world that seemed designed to kill us off.  We had masks with us, to praise and entreat our gods, to honor the dead, to win us mates, to help us find food, and terrify our enemies.

We have them still, though they have taken different forms, and aren't as ritualized as they had been. We clap them on for fun, to disguise ourselves, and flirt with others innocently.  We put on masks to become someone anonymously dangerous, to amp up the sexual tension in a profound fetish scene.
And on Halloween and other such festivals, we acknowledge our connection to the realm of the dead, by glorying in images of disease, distortion, and decay.
    We all have our masks.  Some, like a Venetian Carnivale mask, are meant as a disguise for fun, giving us license to play with flirtations outside of whatever relationships we may have.  But there are other, less visible masks we all wear, each day.  And the Attire language contributes to them amply.  We use that language not only to tell our personal truths, but to keep those truths from being seen.  And so, again, masks.  Though these are not masks we wear on the face, as a rule.
    We wear clothing that narrows our waistlines, or makes our shoulders look broader.  We wear vertical stripes to make ourselves seem slimmer and taller.  We do endless numbers of things to make others see what we wish them to see; but not the full truth, an edited, filtered, idealized truth.  Us, but us, 2.0.
    Now, I'm not suggesting that we drop all our masks both real, and imagined, instantly.  Far from it.  All I'm suggesting is that we try to be aware that masks, of any sort, keep us from communicating fully.  We cannot express everything we are, from behind a curtain.

    In this darkening, and often dangerous world, curtains can hide multitudes.  We are multitudes; and we have the right to say who we are.  Step from behind your curtain, and state yourself with pride.
    Don what you wish, and wear it with honor.
    You are yourself, no one else can be.

No comments:

Post a Comment