The Mask

The Mask: The Masks I Wear – The Roles I Play

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages

-Shakespeare (As you like it)


When this world is a stage and we are all actors, there is certainly a need to wear masks. They help us act our way through this world. In fact, it is very much needed to survive and enjoy this world. And as they say, an actor can have multiple roles to play. He must then, change masks. However, one should always remember that there is a real ‘me’ hiding behind the mask. It is this ‘me’ that really enjoys the essence.

All are us have a variety of masks that each of us wears daily. These may be the identities that have been given to us, or ones that we have assumed over time.

As long as we recognize that what we wear is a mask we all are right. But when the mask becomes the seeming reality for us, then our troubles begin. We confuse the mask with the person, and if we are consummate enough actors, so do those around us. Gradually the mask becomes a trap, and we become the mask (as the performers did in the ancient Greek plays who would utter their lines while holding a mask in front of their faces).

Not every use of a mask is negative, however. Masks can help us build our own defenses for the time we need them. They can give us power, or at least the illusion of power, in a time when we may feel powerless. The masks can let us pretend or try new things. They can give us permission to express a portion of ourselves we generally hide. As long as the masks remain flexible and breakable, we can alter them at will, still realizing that we are not what we wear on our face as the mask we present to others.

We wear masks for our spouses; children; relatives; bosses, co-workers. We may wear numerous masks within the course of a single day. And yet where is the real us? It is very easy to get lost amid a closet-full of masks. Yet an awareness of the masks lets us look at the various aspects of our persona and our lives. We can then integrate and develop the aspects, to reflect the unique individual we are to the world.


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