More Musings on Masks · 9 April 2022

Masks are interesting. We wear them for Halloween. We wear them for the pandemic. We wear them to hide. And sometimes the masks are not even physical.

I thought the first days without the mask mandates in our state were rather interesting. When I was at the local coffee shop all the employees were wearing masks and over half of the customers were as well. And when I went to school, it seemed that a bit over fifty percent of the students and staff were wearing masks too. I was actually a bit surprised. Although I am not sure which way I was surprised.

Regardless of your politics or your preferences or your science or your rationale, you have a choice when it comes to wearing masks. And regardless of your choice, I respect it. To mask or not to mask, that is the question. And we should not need to suffer the slings and arrows of judgment from other people regardless of our mask choices. (Sorry to all those Hamlet fans who often suffer fools who quote, misquote, and co-opt the famous soliloquy.)

But politics is not what this blog post is about.

I never thought about it before, but most people tend to hide behind masks. Most of the time. They have a mask for this occasion or that situation. They have a mask for this gathering or that family member. They have different masks for different situations and different people. They don those masks for different reasons. And unless they are going to a costume party, those masks are not even physical.

Okay. Maybe not most people. And maybe not most of the time. Or maybe. I do not know. What I do know is that we all have masks. And some people choose to wear them more often than others.

I have wondered about these metaphorical masks for many years. I wonder why we feel a need to hide our true selves. Why we need to look good and smell good for some people. Why we need to look our best for some people. Why we need to don our specific mask and put on our specific persona for some people. Do we really need masks? After all, we are not on the stage performing a play as we go through life. We are just going through life as best as we can. So why put on all the pressure of performing? Why put on those different masks?

The more I think about masks, the more I realize that we have forgotten something very important. We all have intrinsic value. You. Me. Everybody. We have value just because we are people. You see, the old saying is true: God made me, and God don’t make junk. And we can all say these words and know that they are true.

Okay. That is enough theology for this post.

What I really want to say is that physical mask or no physical mask, we do not need to hide our true selves from each other. At least we ought not need to do so. We ought to be free to just be who we are without ridicule or judgment or disdain or any other negativity from others. We ought to just be able to be ourselves all the time.

Physical masks are appropriate for different occasions and different situations. But whether we are wearing physical masks or not, I hope that we realize that we do not need to hide behind the different metaphorical masks we all have.

© 2022 Michael T. Miyoshi

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