Social cloaks & masks, a survival necessity

The world is a complex place. Like baby animals in the wild we quickly learn to adapt to it through experience, although at varying pace. Some of us mature mentally faster than others as our circumstances and life conditions dictate. This is what shapes us as persons, creating a variety of characters with myriad impulses and responses to life’s stimulus.

As a child I used to be rather direct, saying what I meant and meaning what I said. This bluntnesss, however, though mainly guileless and honest seemed to displease people and was often misinterpreted by them. They didn’t get the message, and life became a series of scoldings and punishments. My childhood was quite a nightmare. The bright spots in my childhood revolved around my adventures in art and discovery of things new to me. That’s how my solitary existence started. I was often the lone wolf, or rather the lone mouse. I was a sensitive child to the point of being able to empathize emotionally with people to some extent. As such, growing up was difficult, especially with people who couldn’t understand how negativeness impacted me emotionally. It was hard for me to understand why they said I took myself and other things too seriously.

It was also hard to understand why, they couldn’t see the things I saw in my mind’s eye. It seemed so simple to me to see the beauty in the mundane but hard to explain it, especially to adults who had lost the wonder of childhood.

As I grew older, I began to realize that ‘good relations’ were sometimes built on ‘white lies’. One had to go along with something you didn’t agree with or felt to be untrue, just to keep the peace and to prevent being attacked with ridicule or punished and ostracized. It was a defense tactic, white lies (masks) were necessary for survival in the general society, so I discovered.

Overtime, I learnt to hide my feelings, cloaking them in pictures or words but imperfectly, as I hated to pretend. I guess I’d fail as an actor. I couldn’t act unless deliberately deciding to do so.

It’s always been difficult for me to join a fraternity without being told what I should think or how I should behave. I’m not anti-social, just quiet and prefer my own company, most of the time. I am myself with me, as I believe most can’t accept me as myself. My thoughts are often deemed controversial or against the general trend that they seem unacceptable to most.

Survival in society means, to cloak and mask ones self in a guise others can recognize or identify with. To hide behind these facades and pretend to agree to the disagreeable. I wonder when I will lose sight of who I really am…

We live very often with self-censorship, encouraged by a society that finds ‘truth’ too difficult to deal with. It’s too difficult to face who we really are. Perhaps, that’s a problem the whole world faces. The lies translate into violence and oppression, principles and moral values dubbed and discarded as “old fashioned” or “obsolete”. Our mirror reflections are not of ourselves but the masks we show the world, our true image probably is no complement to us, more a criticism of our inner beings.

The solitary path is for me, the best one, perhaps, just me and the Great Spirit who walks with me, that knows who I truly am.

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