To help me, I have signed up for NaBloPoMo October. The theme for the month is masks and today's prompt was, "When you saw the word mask, was your first interpretation protection, covering up, persona, or performance?"
When I hear the word mask I always think of the Paul Laurence Dunbar poem, "We Wear the mask".
The poem was published in the late 1800s by him (an African American - or Negro as I think we were called at the time). It is all about the struggles of people and how they tend to hide them from others. I first read it back in high school and have loved it and really felt it since then at various points in my life and during different situations.
We Wear the MaskWe wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, --
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our criesI love it!
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!
That is what I do on so many occasions - hide what is really going on and put on a happy, or just a straight face that others can't read.
All this to say that my first impression after reading the theme for the month of October with BlogHer was hiding imperfections, protecting the image (I think) I have in the eyes of others, and making sure I always seem in control of situations.