In today's society, it's very rare to see someone not wearing a mask. I don't mean in the literal sense (because literal real face masks are very good and keep us a bit safer from the LITERAL PANDEMIC, please please wear them), I'm talking about metaphorical masks.
It all started a long time ago in a land far far away. There were probably weird unevolved homosapiens wandering around, being friends, and forming little societies among them or something. Idk I ain't a historian. Anyway, one of the homosapiens, let's call him Jeff, developed a weakness that would make him less useful to his society. Worried about being abandoned or ostracised, Jeff hid his weakness, hiding behind a prehistoric metaphorical mask of having No Weakness and being Very Useful To Society.
Of course nowadays, you don't have to be that strong to survive, so hiding any and all weakness isn't necessary. But we all have a crippling fear of being rejected by our communities or friend groups or that one person on The Internet who likes all your tumblr posts (shoutout, you know who you are), and we also all have wildly inaccurate and negative views about ourselves and how useful or likeable or important we are. So we carefully create a version of ourselves that we think people will like, trying to hide all of our flaws and insecurities, and we wear this version of ourselves like a mask. That way, we're less likely to be rejected, and even if we are rejected, people are rejecting the mask instead of the person behind the mask, so it feels a little less personal and hurts a little bit less.
Now, there are a couple of issues with everyone wearing masks all the time. We all hide our flaws and insecurities from each other, but we can't really hide them from ourselves, which means the only flaws you usually get to see are your own. This kinda sucks, because it makes you feel like you're the only flawed person in a world of Perfect Human Beings, which deepens your insecurities about yourself and makes you even more desperate to hide behind your mask. And then before you know it, everyone is really sad and scared and insecure, but we're all wearing masks and pretending to be happy and fine, ignoring how we actually feel until we end up in a worldwide mental health crisis. Or something.
So basically, the Metaphorical Masks are bad. They create more problems than they solve, and honestly, it's a lot of effort to always pretend to be someone you're not. But none of us are confident enough to take the masks off. So what do we do? *leaves some time for my audience who literally cannot participate to not participate*. Honestly, there isn't one nice simple neat solution for this. But we can make a decent start at improving things. At the end of the day, the reason we have the masks is because we're scared people will judge us. But if someone sees you being a socially awkward mess and they judge you for it, they're not worth your time anyway. Besides, lots of people would find it quite reassuring to see that not everyone is perfect, because it gives them the confidence they need to be themselves, knowing that they're not actually the only flawed individual in the whole world. So, I guess I am kind of saying to take off the masks sometimes. I know it's scary, and I know it's difficult, but I swear to you, it's worth it in the long run. There's nothing more heartwarming than seeing someone let their guard down and take their mask off because you were so weird and awkward and completely true to yourself that they felt comfortable enough to be themselves too without fear of judgement. And besides, when people accept you for you, it means you get to relax because you don't have to expend energy on keeping the mask in place, which gives you energy to spend on actually important things like talking to friends or doing maths or writing long tumblr posts noone will ever read.
So yea. Metaphorical Masks suck (and once again, literal masks are good, wear them please). And whilst being yourself is scary, it can also be really really great. In the wise wise words of Dan Howell, "embrace the void and have the courage to exist". Because existing may be scary, but y'all have existed for this long already, which makes you so incredibly brave, and I believe that all of you can gather the courage to be yourselves, even in a world that frowns upon individuality. You've got this.
Thanks for reading, sorry for being gone for so long. Please come say hi, there's plenty of room in the comment sections, and my inbox is always open. I love all of you so so much, and as always, stay safe out there.