On Wearing Masks

Masks unveil the hidden, for if one needs to wear a mask, it means there is something to hide. But if the mask is a good one, others never suspect that the mask is, in fact, not my face.  They have seen it so much, though, and so often that they have come to believe it is not simply a mask that I wear in order to protect my secrets and insecurities, my opinions and maladies, but they believe that it is who I actually am.  But I know it is not, and sometimes the illusion of mask becomes so heavy in its deception that it is harder to hold up with only a strap. And I can feel it slipping ever so slowly, the holes for my eyes covering my lids, making it harder to see clearly; my mouth now distorted so that my grin looks more like a smirk or a sardonic leer; my hands shaking to readjust it even as others watch with dismay or amusement (I’m still uncertain of what they actually see).

And if I only wore one mask, it would not be surprising  that the mask would become aged and begin falling apart with cracks like wrinkles suddenly touching the edge of existence.  Where once there were cheeky colors and ballsy retorts upon an intriguing calavera mask, now there is only the inevitable fading like a relinquishing submission to expected conjectures that only lead to spiritual death.  Ah, if there were only one mask.  But there are too many interchanging masks for me to keep up with, one for each watchful faction of spectator just waiting to see the sinful face of reality, the pallid one that conceals what makes me the most vulnerable like a washed up crab along the shores of oblivion, glaring into the sun of others while slowly shriveling up and dying.

Even crabs hide behind shells, and so even I hide behind the masks that you have papier-mâchéd onto my face.