A while back I wrote a post titled, “Life as Theater.” The gist of the post is that we all wear masks to cover up who we really are. I believe our life is about removing these masks we use to protect ourselves, often replacing them with new ones.
Over the years there have been certain periods of my life in which I have had to confront those masks. In the past they have been in a variety of forms, the victim of lost love, the athlete and the artist, to name a few. There are even political masks, which seems to be in fashion these days.
Masks are anything we use to tie our identity to and justify it with stories we tell ourselves and others. The ego will go to anything length making sure our mask stays in place. Many do not want to confront their masks. Let’s face it, it’s painful to realize one’s own mask depending upon how long it’s been in place–For some a lifetime.
Often the realization of one’s own mask comes during highly emotional periods such as a death, divorce or any tragedy in which we have to confront ourselves. I don’t know what it is, but during these times it somehow loosens allowing us to begin to change the stories we tell ourselves and prioritizing what is important.
After a tragedy there is a window of opportunity to make changes by letting go. Some do, many don’t and get even more entrenched making damn sure the mask remains in place. Then life comes around again, and again like a spiral giving you another chance. We all know people who never made the shift. They tend to say the same thing over and over, but with slightly different stories each time, or even the same stories, but always with an underlying feeling of angst, anger or sadness.
When it does come around and it does for all of us, this is a time in life that is calling our attention. I see and hear it on a grand scale these days. With Covid many were confronting their own masks and awakening to their reality.
It’s ironic that actual masks were such an issue. Those who didn’t wear a mask were holding on for dear life by wearing the metaphoric one at the cost of life. They were essentially saying, “No I don’t care about you or others, only about myself.”
At the time, wearing a mask symbolized a collective in which the culture in America was being asked to work together to ensure the safety of one another. Some took off their “individualist” mask and replaced it with one that represents the “Collective.” This was period meant to awaken to changing one’s way of thinking from individual to collective, to working together for the betterment of society.
We are put on this earth to learn how to let go and love in all its forms. I don’t know what it is, but love seems to get a bad rap these days as people tend to tie it to romance and drama. This is not the only kind of love. Love can simply be kindness towards one another. That means even wearing a mask.
It’s hard to say which way this will go, (speaking of the US) but if a majority of the population awakens to this reality it may be enough to cause real and lasting change to take place. If it doesn’t then it will come around again with another major challenge to the culture in the form of tragedy.
I used to be pessimistic by nature, but I replaced it with a more optimistic one knowing that change is possible. But then again …