The art of masking, what is it? Well, in my case its the masking of my internalised thoughts and feelings. It’s the manner in which I mask that I believe to be an art. Some critics may call it denial, some may say I run from the truth but in fact its none of these. I very well aware of what I mask and more importantly why I mask it. There is no individual in this world who has not been distressed by a particular situation which has caused them distress, discomfort and emotional pain. I am no exception. However, I have acquired a strange skills over the years. I have learned to slowly decrease my disapproval of circumstances. Yet I have not ignored how they have made me actually feel. Often what has occurred cannot be altered or even forgotten about but my reaction I realise can be managed better.
When a situation has arisen that I disapprove of or that I have strong feelings about something in particular I will often be the last to voice my opinion. I watch, I wait and above all I listen. I see a lot of this. Many a time I see the sheer anxiety of an individual who is looking to always stay ahead. Their voices are often loud, their speech often pressured and are easily angered. I listen to so much, oh so much more than I want to hear at times. Insecurities, prejudice, hatred, selfishness and at times genuine feelings. You see all these things are unmasked, but only visible to those who wish to see it. Many a time people are constantly thinking: but only within their own box.
So why do I mask mine? Well, because it teaches me how to be stronger. Very often my feelings are strong and can overwhelm me. I am sensitive. I am often told by friends, family and colleagues that ‘you look and sound normal. you’re ok surely’, this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are two elements there: firstly the assumptions that I look and sound fine must mean to them that I am fine and secondly the insensitivity of not asking how I actually am. This is where masking comes in. It is where I control and effectively manage my emotions, not allowing the opposite person know what is going on within you but also not lying to them either. (No one deserves to be lied to). If an individual is too opinionated about me already, nothing I say will make the slightest bit of difference to whatever idea they already possess and furthermore, if this individual does not hold the ability to actually ask me then telling them I am not fine would be a complete waste of time for the both of us. Masking allows me to deal with the issue at hand in the way that best suits me. It is not influenced by people’s own experiences or opinions. It prevents me from feeling vulnerable in presence of individuals and rather than being negative about it, I reflect and I learn. Masking decreases my expectations from people, it makes me self-sufficient. I often find that I do not need to compete with anyone and am more satisfied with life. Often it can help in situations at work, opinions worsen a state of affairs and sometimes having a rational, often factual point can help manage it better. Such strong opinions can hurt others, curbing them or portraying them in a more productive manner can often prevent situations from arising which may otherwise become difficult to manage.
Those that know I mask often say to me that it makes me more vulnerable and I isolate myself. This is simply untrue. When speaking to people who do listen and understand I will say how I actually feel. I just don’t have precious time to waste on those who simply do not understand. Masking in a protective factor for me, and it gives me a freedom which many others do not possess. It even allows me to takes things less personally. Less personal interactions/friends/family = less agony, less pain and less grief. Yet in the world people are not happy with this idea that people like myself like their own company. It does not make me anti-social, it makes me selfish perhaps yes but it certainly does not mean I have lost all faith in humans. I just choose who I want to mask my feelings from and who I wish to share them with. Not all are entitled to know my feelings, particularly if they do not understand and cannot make the time to understand them. Masking is such a productive tool for me and I am much happier and satisfied as an individual. My though patterns, and my feelings are more effectively channelled in the right direction and in the right manner for me.