You Wear A Mask For So Long, You Forget Who You Were Beneath It.

People are terrifying. People are judgemental. They are spiteful and they have mouths to turn their sharp thoughts into sharp words. (Ironic to my point.) People don’t always understand, they don’t always try, or even want to. People, even your closest and dearest friends, perhaps especially them, will make you feel like you’re trapped in a box. “It’s not like you to say this. It’s not like you to do that,” they’ll comment. You’ll realize that there are limits. You can’t do as you please. You can’t say what you mean. You can’t tell them how you feel. Not in the black and white, honest to God way. Someone will get hurt or simply misunderstand, and you will be judged, labelled and kept at a distance for your so-called transgressions.

So I go about my day holding my thoughts – the painfully truthful ones – captive in the cell that is my mind. A remark pops up. Immediately, it is marked “prisoner” and dismissed to the darkest parts of my brain – the place where honesty is sent to be forgotten. Fragments of me are tossed out, banished for being unacceptable. Peer pressure isn’t about cigarettes, sex and Vodka. It’s about the want to conform, or rather, the fear of the consequences that follow any form of deviation.

It is for this reason that I sometimes feel like nobody knows me.

Who are we, if not the sum of all the thoughts that we have that are categorized as taboos? Do we become the censored, sugarcoated versions of all the brash, rude, awkward, inappropriate, narcissistic, worried, pleading, desperate, ungrateful, pained thoughts we have, just by never letting anyone hear them audibly?

“…it was my integrity that was important. Is that so selfish? It sells for so little, but it’s all we have left in this place. It is the very last inch of us…but within that inch we are free.”

– V For Vendetta

I once told a friend that I had “people phobia”, to which he replied, “Don’t we all?” It’s really no wonder that as I grow older, I become more and more introverted. It’s terribly suffocating to have all these thoughts swimming in my head, never letting them see the light of day or meet a listening ear. Alone, my ugly thoughts can breathe. Alone, I am able to indulge in the rough and unpolished fragments of myself. You might find it tragic, but my room knows me best. The four walls that keep people out, keep my thoughts in, where they are allowed to pace and dance, free of judgement, for that short duration of their frequent field-trips out of my mind.

I wonder if I’ll ever feel comfortable enough to spill it all to another human being. I wonder if anyone in the history of time has ever done so, without being met with antagonism. I wonder if no one feels this way, or if we’ve all just become terribly good actors. The sad truth is, I think I know the answer.

To my dearest friends, then, I wonder, when the masks are off and you’re all alone, who are you?

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