I wrote yesterday about compulsory mask wearing and how it was an issue for some people. I watched a video the other night of a mature American lady screaming like a chastised toddler because she was asked to wear a face covering in a store. I don’t know what was more shocking – the seismic scale of her tantrum or the sorry reality that she’s not a one off and many other people across the globe would probably react in exactly the same manner.
It would appear that their ‘right’ to do whatever they want, whenever they want, overrides the safety of those around them. They put their needs before those of their fellow human beings. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so worrying. Has society really reached the point where we cannot make small sacrifices for the greater good? I don’t particularly enjoy wearing a mask, they’re uncomfortable, but I’ll do it if it means contributing towards defeating a deadly virus.
The ironic thing is, we all walk around wearing masks anyway. They are called our faces. How many times have we produced a false smile when inside our hearts are breaking? The same goes for our mouths. How many times have you answered ‘I’m fine’ when, in reality, your world is falling apart? Turned up and went through the motions when all we really want to do is crawl under a rock and die. We act, we perform, we put on a show, rather than show the world how we are really feeling.
So, what’s another mask when our lives are dominated by them anyway? Masks are part of our daily walk, we don them all the time to protect our privacy from prying eyes, to keep up appearances. To show vulnerability and honestly expose our faults and weaknesses is just not the ‘done thing.’ It’s frowned upon, people don’t want to hear of our inner struggles, it’s all so sordid and unnecessary. Only shiny, happy stories will suffice.
I wore such a mask for many years. In work, at church, wherever I went. People didn’t see the real me, warts and all, they saw the version of me that I thought they wanted to see. I lived a chameleon like existence, changing my personal values and character traits at a whim in order to fit in and feel valued. I was a walking, talking charade. I played the part of the happy chappy when inside I was a seething ball of anger and despair.
One day I hit rock bottom. And from there I started to rebuild. At the heart of that was this blog, the place where I tentatively began to write three years ago and share my scars with the world. I was nervous at first, fearful as to how others would respond. I need not have worried. WordPress was, and still is, the most supportive, encouraging social media platform I’ve ever experienced. I’m so glad I stumbled onto it all those years ago.
I discovered like minded souls. People who were willing to open up and exorcise their darkest demons via the written word. Survivors who had battled the odds, faced their worst fears and emerged out the other side. Fellow travellers who wanted to share their experiences, good and bad. They wore no masks but bathed in the truth and made no apology about it. They wanted to write, needed to write, it was as natural and necessary as drawing air into their lungs.
Some have fallen by the wayside and left the blogging world, others dip their toe in the water only occasionally now. While others have remained, steadfast beacons offering daily encouragement and support. Others have emerged to fill the ranks, it is a vibrant, ever changing community of like minded souls. We need no masks here as we have nothing to fear from one another. Express yourself. Speak the truth. Throw away your mask.