~ Masks ~

As I look around me I’m starting to see
people hiding fears just like me.
Each of us carrying a mask of our own,
hiding what we feel should never be shown.
Moving through this life from child to adult,
the words spoken to us can become an assault.
The tearing down by words raises up masks,
they stop us fulfilling our dreams and tasks.

I look at my children and see boldness there,
a courage and face they don’t hide but share.
They speak what is truth without needing to hide,
they openly speak what they feel inside.
As I watch them grow I hear their truth become silent,
being torn down by words that almost seem violent.
Slowly their masks are hiding their faces,
as the world begins to show them their places.

As I look around me I’m starting to see
a world of hurting people just like me.
I thought I was the only one carrying this mask,
the only one with lost dreams and feeling outcast.
We all carry masks that are different yet the same,
the one thing in common, they all hide our pain.
A pain of rejection and not feeling good enough,
hardening our hearts and making us tough.

I look at my children and the damage I’ve done,
I never meant to give a mask to any one son.
I tried to protect them, make them grow strong,
to shield them from pain, but my words have been wrong.
So easily the words just seem to slip through,
without stopping to think of the damage they do.
We tear down our children while teaching them right,
as the person they are becomes hidden from sight.

I look around me and I’m starting to see,
people wearing masks who deserve to be free.
We all have talents, not all the same,
we should never need to hide them or feel any shame.
Some people are flamboyant, out there, just loud,
they were born to be noticed amongst the crowd.
Others are quiet and some in between,
each talent and person, in their own way to be seen.

We all have masks that we need to discard,
to learn being ourselves should never be this hard. 

Written by Rebecca Rawson
Copyright © 2002

I wrote the poem Masks at a time in my life I was trying so hard to discard the mask I had learnt to wear since I first started school, a mask that had been reinforced in far too many ways, by far too many people up until I wrote this poem at the age of 30.

At the time I wrote Masks our children were 10, 8, 4 and 3 years of age, the youngest two hadn’t even really picked up their masks at that age, but the older two had unfortunately.

Life was never simple or easy as a blended family, downright dysfunctional if I am completely honest, as our entire family wore a thinly veiled mask that only allowed for the largest cracks to show a smidge to the outside world.

As I share this poem 15 years later I would like nothing more than to say I succeeded in discarding that mask.

But, the truth is life got even harder, numerous people in my life so much more destructive than I ever imagined they could be. Instead of finally discarding the mask, that mask became more firmly secured in place as I found the need to hide myself away from the world completely, isolated in self-protective seclusion for many years.

It is such a shame so many of us feel the need to hide and discard what we are told has little to no value. Sadly, often what lay hidden behind so many masks are the most valuable talents and traits of all.

We all have masks that me need to discard, to learn being ourselves should never be this hard!

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