I wrote an extensive paper once for a school project all about the masks we all wear. This came back to me today as I was in my office and overheard one of the drivers chatting with the other guys. He was all smiles and jokes and Mr. Positive. Not five minutes later I overheard him having a conversation on his cell phone that was far from sweetness and light… and it isn't the first time I've seen him do this.

It reminded me of how everyone thought my father was the life of the party. He would laugh and joke and be personable and someone everyone wanted to talk to… but I saw the other side. The mean drunk. The man who would use sarcasm as a double-edged sword, cutting right to the heart of whoever he had taken aim at.

I think of my own life. I've played so many roles that I could get labeled with mulitple personality disorder. At this time in my life I like to think I'm the most honest with myself and open with others that I've ever been. Still? I tend to put on a different face when I'm with my parents, my in-laws, and the public in general. I'm pretty much the way you see me here the rest of the time… and with my husband and kids I am the most genuine of all.

How about you? Do you feel you are a genuine person for the biggest part of your life or are you masking?

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Middle-aged. Anti-social. Mom. Grandma. Town-raised farmer's wife. Iowan. Want more? Come read the blogs.

24 thoughts on “Masking”

  1. That’s a good one.

    There are time, usually in the company of my mom, or one/both of my kids where I curtail my language, and selectively exclude certain topics from my conversation, but for the most part, what you see is what you get.

    Of course, there are always exceptions. I’ve had co-workers whose work ethic pissed me the eff off, but I never let them know that…. You know, things like that….


  2. I wish I knew. I used to think I was genuine, but I’m no longer sure who I am. I guess I can’t decide which mask to wear.

  3. The time I will ALWAYS wear a mask is when I am with The Family. That is the reason I stay as far away from them as I can. It was almost a requirement for me to wear one, as the ‘real me’ wasn’t allowed to be–I was expected to conform to what The Mother wanted me to be. It is SO MUCH better when I can live my life as I really am.

  4. I try to keep my proverbial shit together in public but I definitely let my freak flag fly when I am alone. I don’t feel as separate from my true self as I did in my twenties which is a relief. I have a hard time keeping it all straight anyhow. But certain situations call for a bit of a mask. You can’t blindly trust. Sad but true.

  5. Sue..don’t you think that we all wear those different masks, whether we want to, or not..or even whether we realize that we are wearing them, sometimes?

    I try to be completely open, and honest, with my friends, but I know that I am not secure enough within myself to be that way at all times. I have had a few relatives, that I know, when in their presence, I was like a different person, because I felt that they were judging me, somehow.

    Your question seems so simple, but in reality it is quite complex…maybe, that’s why I love you! 🙂

  6. We are the sum total of all our masks, or behaviors. I act differently in church than I do playing poker with the boys, I am profoundly different around friends than I am around strangers, far more vocal on paper than in speech, much more confident when I sing than when I talk, and I have learned over the years there are varying degrees of politeness,openess, respect and support in my over all personage. I often appear severe and disinterested to the unobsevant eye, but those who know me judge me as “Hard candy with a soft center” as one friend so interestngly once described me.

    So there is a BIG difference between mutiple personality disorder and multiple behaviors condition. We all have more than one emotion, use them! (but learn to use them wisely)

  7. A mask implies hiding who you really are. I’m not sure I do that. I see different roles that call upon different parts of my personality. The Press Flack calls for a different set of skills, than say the Mom, the friend, the paraspouse, the daughter. It’s not a mask, I don’t lie. Just the presentation may be different. That’s all. As long as I am true to me, my beliefs, I think it’s ok.

  8. Total mask. Only one person knows the “real me” and that’s Mr. AP because he has earned my trust. No one else even gets close to the real me. I’ve learned that I can’t be the real me around others, for whatever reason I make people uncomfortable. So when I’m with these people I act this way, and those over there get this Andie and my mom gets another Andie and so on. Different behaviors for different situations.

  9. I think this is a very interesting topic, I don’t doubt for a second that I have masks that I put on. I know I put them on when I’m around my parents, and, because they’re divorced, I know I wear a different one depending on who I am spending time with. One mask I’m not necessarily proud of, and the other seems to revert me to a person I know I’m better than.

    I don’t, however, think the masks I put on in settings, diminish me greatly from who I am when I’ve doffed the thing and feel safe. However, I do have to wonder sometimes if the masks I put on prevent me from really being who I know I am underneath.

  10. I think mostly I am fairly genuine and that what you see is the real deal. But sometimes I wear masks. Mostly masks of patience at moments at work when real patience is needed but in short supply. I do think we all wear masks at different times in different settings. Often it is simply a necessary part of life.

  11. I’m pretty geniune, and I mask. I’m finding it’s harder to mask as I become more honest with myself about how I feel about certain things like my job. I agree with Lisa that there are masks we wear out of necessity depending on the time & place. Based on what my associates say, I can be a picture of calm with students when there is a storm raging within…..

  12. Well, I’m back.

    I have a more sinister reason tho. I was recently tagged, and I’m returning the favor.

    Stop by and read the rules, already!!


  13. I used to a lot. I think with age and experience, I grew a lot of confidence. With confidence came the realization that I don’t care what people think, and therefore stopped wearing a mask. Now, the only people I’ll ever put a mask on for is my kids. They are innocent and young and need it. Everyone else gets the very happy me and the stressed-out me. I’ve shown anger to a stranger, and weakness to a friend, which I would have not done 10 years ago.

  14. First, thanks for leaving comments on kapgar and my blog today.

    Second, love all the pink here. I need happy pink today.

    Third, great post. For me, I am able to be myself around those who matter most. I’m very fortunate to have the family I have. And to be marrying the man I’m with. However, I know others who are not this way. And I might venture to say the negatives in their lives have grown out of being the most important parts of their lives, and are merely obligations today.

  15. Nice Blog BTW!
    I am now genuine. There was a time when I wore all the masks just to fit in but now, what you see is what you get and I have to say that I am so much happier being me.

  16. oh sue. if people only knew how many masks i have worn in my life. i am a great actress. sometimes, i have no clue myself who i am. i have a smile that masks years of pain and heartache, my dear.

    Thanks for this post. have a great day, darlin’!

  17. What a great topic!! I’ve been true to myself and I’ve “masked’. I find that regardless of the material trappings and so on, I’m happiest when I’m being me for everyone to see – love me or hate me!

    Hope you’re well & enjoying the holiday weekend!

  18. It kind of depends on what you call “genuine.” Like, the fact that I hold back saying some things that are going on my head b/c they’re rude and inappropriate even though I really want to? 🙂

    It’s kind of like blogging in that what I think people see is genuine but if I’m in a bad mood or something, I just hibernate instead of letting people see “that side.” Well, I guess Ted gets it! I guess that’s kind of masking.

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