• Dani

The Invisible Masks We Wear

I decided to take a few hours and do something I haven’t done in forever due to everything going on this year and feeling really run down and tired lately.

So here I am, at the local smoothie shop relaxing and rejuvenating.

I ordered my favorite smoothie, and then I came outside to drink it and read in the beautiful Florida weather.

I brought my laptop, in case I decided to write because I have had so many thoughts and ideas running through my brain lately with an overwhelming need to get them out, on paper, and release them. But with that comes the constant struggle of what to write about and will anyone even read it, or better yet, will anyone even care what I have to say. Which is why I often change my mind, push my thoughts away, and decide I will write another day.

So, I grabbed my smoothie and came outside to sit on the patio of their shop. I set up my laptop on the table and grabbed my book. As I began to read, I reached for my smoothie and was abruptly met with the inability to just take a sip. I was stopped by a very literal barrier of the “new normal”- my face mask.

No, I am not here to debate the face masks we are now encouraged and, in some places, required to wear. That is a different topic for a different time. But it did make me think of something I read just last night in a book.

In the book, the main character comments about the “masks” she wears each day. How her mask differs based on who she is with, what she is doing, and how she wants to be perceived.

This hit home…

How many of us have actually been wearing invisible masks for so long we don’t even know why or how we started taking part in this type of disguise. You know, the masks we wear when we know we are expected to be something we may not be, or we are trying to fit in because its easier than expressing ourselves and being judged.

While some never find they hide or mask themselves, so many would rather wear the figurative mask than show who we truly are. We, as a society, often make ourselves mold and hide in ways to be accepted by others. We read the room, we read social media, we watch TikTok and we think that what we see is what is real, what is true, and we decide that since all these people we see have 1 million likes, or followers, then they are loved, happy, even successful.

But are we all masking ourselves behind the screen of social media? We agree in groups with others or take on beliefs of those we want to like us or even love us because we worry about what we think people or if they would love us if they saw us for who we really are.

Would the same people still have 1 million followers?

Or better yet, if you stopped masking yourself and showed the real you and had less followers, but knew those supporting you were doing it because they truly knew you and loved you for you, would you still be okay?

I think before we debate and judge people on whether they wear the physical mask when they go into public these days, we need to stop and learn how to respect, love, and support others when they remove their invisible yet so much more real mask and truly show themselves.

I find one thing I miss these days is everyone’s smiles hiding behind the cloth, can you only imagine the smiles that we would see and would brighten this world if people judged less and loved more?

But what do I know?

I am just one person, learning each day how to remove my own invisible mask and show the world who I really am with pride and a smile.