With all the face coverings, do you ever wonder who’s behind the mask? Of course, there’s the coronavirus mask and those other masks we wear. You know the ones I’m speaking of – right?
We hide from others and, as strange as it may sound, we hide from ourselves too.
What makes us so afraid to be seen? We learn from young ages to protect ourselves from ridicule and attacks on an already fragile self-esteem. It can be a sad and lonely world out there – especially for young people who struggle admitting the challenges they have with their peers, and, sadly their parents too.
It can take a long time, a very determined effort, and lots of courage to chip away at your mask or pull it off. It can follow you right into the workplace and around the conference table where the expectation is that you’re there to impart your knowledge and contributions to the discussions at hand.
This kind of withdrawal all too often holds narratives that have a long history.
I remember being terrified as a child growing up in Uganda fearing that I would be exposed for what I didn’t know. At the age of nine, we had left Miami, Florida and I found myself in a private, newly integrated, post-colonial, British school. Because of my age, I was placed a grade ahead. The other children were more academically advanced than I was. Talk about being lost in space. The road to recovery was very, very long.
What amazes me, is that even as I became more competent, what didn’t change much was my perceived need to silence my voice. This went on right through law school.
Imagine the opportunities we could invite if we were able to help pull out the brilliance in children of ALL ages. Imagine what could be unleashed from behind the learned maskuerading within our lives.
As we see the external masks all around us, perhaps this might be a time to become more aware of those internal masks too. Where are all the places you wear them, and why do you do so?
Don’t you look forward to the time when we won’t find a need to wear our masks any longer?