Masks

Our tendency on the interweb (and off) is to create a kind of mask that displays our most attractive qualities, and then to operate in our relationships from behind that mask because we’re afraid of what other’s think of us.  This begins very early in life, at least it did for me.

The mask I grabbed was like the masks the Pharisees of the Bible wore – I was a rule keeper and a rule enforcer.  Sometimes I came up with my own rules.

For example, when I was in the 6th grade, break dancing was all the rage.  You know that kind of dancing where people twist and spin on their heads on a piece of cardboard?  Yeah, that.  I’d embed some YouTube footage here of my mad skills, but we just don’t have the room today.

Anyway, somehow I got it into my middle school mind that breakdancing was actually sinful.  I don’t know exactly where I came up with this.  It wasn’t my family or friends.  It could have been my vacation bible school (that never felt like much of a vacation).  Regardless, because of my conviction, I would walk around my school playground during recess as kids were practicing their moves, go right up to them, and in a loud, clear voice, tell them in no uncertain terms that breakdancing was sinful and if they didn’t stop, they were going to hell.

12-years-old.

But it gets worse!  Because our masks form even earlier in life, don’t they?

When I was in Kindergarten, there was a rock band called KISS.  Do you remember them?  With the black and white clown make up?  Somehow, they’re still around, probably kept animated by some sort of life support machine.  I heard from someone that KISS stood for Knights In Satan’s Service.  There was no way this budding Pharisee was going to have any of that.

So I would go around my Kindergarten playground during recess, walk right up to my classmates, ask them if they liked the rock band KISS, and if they said yes, I told them in no uncertain terms that KISS was evil and if they kept listening to them they would go to hell.

Six-years old!

The mask I picked up early (like a lot of firstborns) was the mask of the Pharisee: trying to look good on the outside because I was afraid of what people thought of my insides.  What’s your mask?

Is it the influence you have, the connections you have, the kind of car you drive, your zip code, your GPA, a certain role or title?

We’ve all got masks.   And the interweb only amplifies that.  But in order to love each other better and find the kind of satisfying connections we were made for, we’re going to have to learn to take off our masks and relate to each other as we really are.

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About jesserice

Speaker | Author | Digital Culture Expert | Sit-Down Comedian

Posted on May 18, 2011, in humanity vs. technology, lifestyle, relationships and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Very interesting post. As a Christian, I have (mostly) a positive attitude. I have a positive outlook on life (I was raised Mormon… very different… and I was very negative then). I love posting encouraging thoughts and scriptures to encourage friends, but sometimes I break down and say, “I’m a real person, too, and I’m having a bad day,” or “I have to force myself to be friendly to so and so.” I think it helps to be “real” with everyone, meaning we don’t wear any masks. Masks hinder us, and our ability to connect with God, and other people.

    Just my little opinion.

    • thanks for your “little opinion”. I think you’re right, people are hungry for authenticity (i.e., congruency between “outside” us and “inside” us) and letting people behind the masks is a great way to tear down the walls between ourselves, God, and others. Thanks again!

    • I’m curious why you keep posting a link but no comment? I followed the link and it’s a nice blog entry though I’m not totally sure how it connects. Would love to hear your thoughts!

  2. Heyhey….so you wrote: “But in order to love each other better and find the kind of satisfying connections we were made for, we’re going to have to learn to take off our masks and relate to each other as we really are.”

    I offered this post to explore how psychologists have spent decades searching for traits that exist independently of circumstance and have come to see that personality can’t be separated from context or roles

  1. Pingback: “It’s Time To Be A Good Steward of Your Pain” « THE CHURCH OF FACEBOOK

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