We are talented actors, even though we are paid no money.
We cover our scars with makeup, even though our body shows no sign of injury. It’s probably why you didn’t ask.
Who are we? Who am I?
A question contemplated by the brave hearts—their pain covered by a mask—worn to protect them from further damage.
The mask we wear is not one worn to a masquerade ball, with ribbon that glitters in the moonlight, hiding your face from a potential lover. No fierce eyes shine from behind. Not the mask worn on Halloween, made to scare you or to make you laugh. In fact, if you laughed at us, it would cause more pain.
The masks we wear are to prevent people from seeing inside. To hide the smile. To hide the beauty. It’s an act and we’ve tricked you. But that’s not all we trick. We think that maybe, if we wear our mask long enough, we’ll trick our own consciousness into believing that we are okay.
But we are not. I am not.
The constant smile shows in the halls, at our desks at school, in the office, or at the store. But, when we are alone, with nothing but a mirror to show us our pain, the mask falls. We see into ourselves and notice the hurt, the vulnerability, and the scars that cover our faces and our hearts. This isn’t a party anymore.
This is reality.
And, when the masks fall away, we lay in our beds late at night crying ourselves to sleep, letting our tears stain our pillows and our sheets. In the morning, our mask is put on once again. And everyone sees that it is okay. But is it?
This trickery works. Until slowly, bit by bit, more masks are placed one on top of the other. We stay hidden away from our pain. But the grief we bear underneath each mask gets heavier and more sorrowful every time—making the tears more real, the pain more real. But you don’t see that, you never have. It’s all part of our act.
How would you react if the doll face failed? If the clean porcelain we wore shattered on the floor and cut our fingers and feet as we stepped on it and picked at it. The sadness terrifying us into revealing it to you. Real blood dripping, and you staring on, in horror. We are empty, black, and alone.
We scream. We plead. We beg. Please…
We don’t have much left to push for.
Take my heart and heal it. If you see me without my doll face, reach behind and untie the ropes I’m bound by.
Let my mask fall and shatter. Give me myself back. Build me up with kindness, rather than demanding another mask be created. This feat will be difficult and will require love.
Real, raw love.
So, who are we?
It’s so easy to see. We are all around you. Take off your own mask to see me. And ask yourself the same questions.
Who am I? Why am I hiding?
Author: Madysen Holt
Image: Brian Snelson/Flickr
Editor: Lieselle Davidson