woman with highlight on her cheek

Let's Talk About Masks (NOT FACE MASKS)

Hiding behind a smile is a phrase we have all heard. There have been countless times when we have had to go out with friends, had a work meeting or had dinner with family when something in our lives just made us want to put on sweatpants, eat ice cream and cry our eyes out. Yet, obligations make this an ideal way to take out our stressors on a fantasy. Instead we wind up putting on masks, but in reality we constantly wear various masks without these situations. 

Emojis Friends Funny Fun Happy Emotions Molly Longest / Her Campus

There are various types of masks that we wear. A person can adopt and use one or multiple masks all at once. I recently heard what are considered the classic ones from a pastor online (I will not get into the religious aspects) and are as follows: 

  • The Barbie: the person who always has a smile on their face and seems to have their life totally put together no matter what
  • The Genie: the person who seems so selfless and always puts other people first by granting their wishes because there is nothing that they would ever need themselves.
  • The Katniss Everdeen: the person who is so tough and will conquer anything life throws at them with their strength and no obstacle could ever be a match for them.
  • The Goofy: the person who is always the funny one and life of the party; even when things get serious, they have the perfect one liner to lighten the mood. 
  • The Stormtrooper: the person who always has a way of conforming and blending in with the crowd by doing everything everyone else seems to be doing.

Ryan Everton via Unsplash

There are countless more that could be mentioned, but these masks have become a normal part of our daily lives. These masks are responsible for the walls we have built up around us to not let people see the deep, dark and scary parts of ourselves. The three main reasons we wear our masks are to hide the guilt we feel about our wrongdoings, our hurt trauma we have endured and our feelings of inadequacy as we feel that we are not enough. We feel shame for what we do when we are alone or what goes on in our minds that remains unspoken. The pain we have experienced is unmentioned because no one wants to hear about our baggage as it would just burden them. If we genuinely told people how we are not smart, pretty, or worthy enough they would see the true us. We would no longer be wanted by them. No one would love us. 

If you think about wearing a mask for a long period of time, we do succeed in hiding the parts of ourselves that we do not want others to see, but it gets hard to breathe and see through a mask. We are restricted in our ability to breathe freely and see the world with everything and everyone it has to offer. Wearing a mask only hurts us. 

Her Campus Media Design Taking off a mask is a hard challenge. People think if others saw the true them they would be mortified and not want anything to do with them anymore. If you think about it we all feel this way though. If one of us takes off our mask, even if very slowly, chances are the person who an individual is revealing themselves to will reciprocate. Society has ingrained the idea in our minds that our true selves need to be hidden. This could not be further from the truth. Know that whoever you are reading this article, you are beautiful, you are important, and you are enough. Knowing this, I encourage you to take off your mask and share all the wonderful things you have to offer with the world in your truest form. I want you to be free from a mask suffocating you. I want you to do this so everyone can see you and follow your footsteps.