Saturday, February 12, 2005

Wearing masks

"Don't be fooled by me.
Don't be fooled by the face I wear.
For I wear a mask.
I wear a thousand masks-
masks that I'm afraid to take off
and none of them are me.

Pretending is an art that's second nature with me
but don't be fooled,
for God's sake, don't be fooled.

I give you the impression that I'm secure
That all is sunny and unruffled with me
within as well as without,
that confidence is my name
and coolness my game,
that the water's calm
and I'm in command,
and that I need no one.

But don't believe me.
Please!
My surface may be smooth but my surface is my mask,
My ever-varying and ever-concealing mask.
Beneath lies no smugness, no complacence.
Beneath dwells the real me in confusion,
in fear, in aloneness.
But I hide this.
I don't want anybody to know it.
I panic at the thought of my
weaknesses
and fear exposing them.
That's why I frantically create my masks
to hide behind.

They're nonchalant, sophisticated facades
to help me pretend,
To shield me from the glance that knows.
But such a glance is precisely my salvation,
my only salvation,
and I know it.
That is, if it's followed by acceptance,
and if it's followed by love.

It's the only thing that can liberate me from myself
from my own self-built prison walls
I dislike hiding,
honestlyI dislike the superficial game I'm playing,
the superficial phony game.

I'd really like to be genuine and me.
But I need your help,
your hand to hold

Even though my masks would tell you otherwise
That glance from you is the only thing that assures me
of what I can't assure myself,
that I'm really worth something.

But I don't tell you this.
I don't dare.
I'm afraid to.
I'm afraid you'll think less of me, that you'll laugh
and your laugh would kill me.

I'm afraid that deep-down I'm nothing,
that I'm just no good
and you will see this and reject me.

So I play my game,
my desperate, pretending game
With a facade of assurance without,
And a trembling child within.

So begins the parade of masks,
The glittering but empty parade of masks,
and my life becomes a front.

I idly chatter to you in suave tones of surface talk.
I tell you everything that's nothing
and nothing of what's everything,
of what's crying within me.

So when I'm going through my routine
do not be fooled by what I'm saying

Please listen carefully and try to hear
what I'm not saying

Hear what I'd like to say
but what I can not say.

It will not be easy for you,
long felt inadequacies make my defenses strong.

The nearer you approach me
the blinder I may strike back.

Despite what books say of men, I am irrational;
I fight against the very thing that I cry out for.
You wonder who I am
you shouldn't
for I am everyman
and everywoman
who wears a mask.

Don't be fooled by me.
At least not by the face I wear."

How many of us wear such masks in our lives?

How many of us know we are wearing these masks?

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