The term mask is frequently used by me to refer to an act of deceit or a false identity. To see it as the selective portrayal of elements of one’s own personality and not as borrowed or acquired was a new perspective to explore. It is interesting how the function of the ancient masks-that of propagating mythological characters-is adapted in the contemporary masks of stereotypes which are in a way characters abstracted to their most pronounced traits speaking of popular discourse such as the cool teenager or the devoted wife.
With the many masks that we wear,is it possible to be aware of one’s real self? Maybe the awareness of holding the authority over one’s masks and not letting our masks become our masters is awareness of the self. I feel vulnerable to being unmasked when I am unsure of what lies behind it like my weaknesses, my insecurities or my secrets. I seek something like a password that only I have the knowledge to and which I feel compelled to remember so that the mask serves its temporariness. I fear that a mask that becomes permanent and leaves room for no other will slowly become the only self that I recognise even though it was something that I wished for others to see. No matter how varied the masks may be, to the wearer they all look the same on the underside and this is an acknowledgement of the starkness of the real self. Once we see ourselves for who we are, it may be possible to anchor one’s identity to something familiar, even when we have been unmasked or when the masks begin to crack.