“We Wear the Mask”

I’d be very dishonest with my readers right now if I said very little has changed over the last two years, because my life took a full 360 degree turn and skidded right off the road that I knew I was headed down. I’ve learnt a lot in the year and half that I’ve spent from home – my comfort zone. You know the kind of things our teachers always said we’d learn in real life, and that books could never teach us. Oh how right they were…

I have realized very few people actually care. We live in a world where people smile and ask you how you’re doing, and all they expect from you in return is for you to smile back, appreciate their gesture and say, “very well, thank you.” They took the time out of their oh so precious time to ask you how you’re doing, what more can you ask of them? There’s no sincerity, no strings attached just a social protocol that we all live by and abide to. It’s the unwritten laws and etiquette of society. So we smile back, and we thank them for asking and assure them we’re well – even when we’re really not, and we’re fighting to smile and it’s taking every bit of our will power to just contain ourselves and “wear the mask”.

Truth is no one wants to hear about what’s wrong, or even know that there is something wrong. I think there’s more to that than just them being ignorant…maybe not acknowledging the bad things in our lives and in the lives of others makes the world seem like a better place. That or I’m giving them more credit than they actually deserve.

Here’s a scenario to better explain what I’m talking about:

  • you’re having a terrible day
  • you flunked an exam
  • you and your boyfriend/girlfriend just broke up
  • your parents are constantly on your case
  • your goldfish died

Okay my examples suck, but you’re an emotional wreck right now and you run into one of your friends in between a lecture. She asks you how you’re doing and you smile and say, “I’m great, how are you?” and she smile’s back and says, “me too”. Both of you know how big a lie that was, but you smile, maybe hug and excuse yourself because you’re headed for class. Before you two head of you acknowledge how long it’s been and make plans both of you know are not going to end up coming through.

(Okay, is it just me or does that remind you of someone you know too? I KNOW RIGHT.)

Now that wouldn’t be so much of a piss of if it was someone that was totally unaware or vaguely aware of what you were going through…but when it one of those people that KNOW, yeah you want to punch them in the face.

I’ve been away from home for two years now…and the amount of people that made the effort to keep in touch with me, I’d be able to count them one hand even if a couple of my fingers were amputated. Seriously…like 4? 3.5 maybe…you get the point.

I guess I know who my real friends are. Who are yours?


– R

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

We Wear the Mask

WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

Note: I first came across this in my high school English class. I thought I’d share it. It obviously sends a strong message. I don’t want to get into the historical context of it but I hope you guys like it and take something from it too.

This entry was posted in Writing and tagged , , , by Rukhsar Zaidi. Bookmark the permalink.

About Rukhsar Zaidi

Hello beautiful people! My name is Rukhsar Zaidi. I am a business graduate, part time blogger and an aspiring business owner and a full time mommy! My blog is my self-expression and also a way of letting off some steam. I pretty much write about my life, things that bother me or things that I care about - in hope to both help myself figure life out one post at a time, and reach as many people as I can through my writing. I'm just an [extra]ordinary girl with extraordinary dreams, tryna find my place in the world and something constant in a constantly changing world. I'm extremely opinionated, super friendly and absolutely love getting to know new people. If that sounds like you too, give me a shout. I would love to connect with you!

3 thoughts on ““We Wear the Mask”

  1. This is how it goes for me:
    “Hey Reid! How are you?”
    “Terrible. And my mood is not being improved by your prying questions. And what’s with your face today, you look like you made out with a trashcan.”

    Ah. Yeah, I can be testy when I’m an emotional wreck. I guess that’s why nobody asks me how I’m doing anymore.

    But in all seriousness, I think we all follow a social script and sometimes it’s hard to slip into improv, even if we care about each other. There’s a time and place for everything and maybe meeting someone in the hallway isn’t the best time to discuss the death of your goldfish.

    P.S. I like the poem!

    • LOL^ oh Reid, he cracks me up.

      As for this note, its true. As much as we would love to think people care and reach out to us to find out how we are doing, they only do it for the sake of ‘the social script’ if that makes sense haha. I think we all have something going on in our lives that we are too ignorant to care about anyone else’s life beyond the point of asking them how they are doing. It doesn’t mean your friends are not real friends anymore, they probably are but just have their hands tide up between their own social life, and whatever drama they gotta deal with. Overall, I love this piece, i can totally relate at some level! xoxo! -N

      • @ Reid – That made me laugh, so thank you for that. But you make a good point, and that’s essentially what I was trying to say too. We all follow a social script…I just think it makes us insensitive sometimes. That is all!

        @ Nish – We all DO have something going on in our lives, acknowledging that in one anothers lives might help us be there for each other more. I’m just saying being a friend isn’t just catching a movie together, hanging out and fun and laughs…it’s also being there for them when they need you emotionally, and not just physically to celebrate their birthday or something. Its something a lot of us tend to ignore sometimes, something I’m guilty of myself.

        I get where both of you are coming from though. Thanks for taking the time out to read through this! I appreciate the feedback.

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