THE MASK

Grrrrhhhh! The sound of alarms waking up millions of people around the world. It’s morning, life’s on. Shoes and clothes on, bags and tools hung on shoulders, the race has begun. There is a daily human need that everyone wants to meet. The most basic of these according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs are: food, water, shelter, clothing etc. These physical needs usually drive most of our daily pursuit, but hidden behind them are the things we all are truly seeking.Things such as: love, friendship, security, comfort, satisfaction and acceptance. In the absence of these we tend to become depressed, lonely and anxious.


Now in the quest to meet these numerous human needs we sometimes make mistakes, get heart broken, lose people we love and things we worked hard to gain. These experiences are what make us human, and it’s the dot that connects us all; the dead and empty feelings, the untamed emotions, the feelings of doubt, uncertainty and the endless fear of the unknown.

Although along this race some amass wealth for themselves, get more intelligent and educated and get better body structures, the question then is:

If all human needs are practically the same, why the mask?

Why the role play?

The emergence of social media has turned a lot of us into actors. We act like we are better than others and as though we have a grip on life. Like the masked man from the 1994 American comedy film, humans hide their true selves behind masks of cars, makeup, designer clothes and shoes, body building etc. Then follows the competition, arrogance, pride, hate and oppression. The “who are you” questions and “you don’t belong to my circle” claims.

Who truly are we?

Indie Arie has a song that says: I am not my hair… I am the soul that lives within“. As humorous as it sounds it rings truth. The material things we acquire don’t make us, they become masks that transform us into characters when given the chance. It turns us into Broadway performers, stage actors. Life has become a show for most people, colourful and energetic on stage but weak and striped backstage. They face reality behind closed doors against prying eyes, fearful of being judged.
Why the pressure to hide if we all feel almost the same things and struggle with almost the same fears? Some people may appear to need less things than others but it doesn’t erase the chase. The realization of this should humble us enough to treat each other with honor and regard. Drug, sex addiction, alcoholism, thoughtless cosmetic surgeries and suicide are all the side effects of the mask. We wear them to cover our weaknesses, we’re afraid to appear needy because we want to look and sound put together, lacking true expression.

We all are weak and in need of help, and until we learn to accept and live with our weaknesses we will keep hiding away in our masks. Being weak and needy is our human experience and accepting them will relieve our misery from life’s many pressures. Instead of oppression we should be uplifting one another and unashamedly living the life we have been blessed with.
If you are sick and tired of being fearful of things you don’t have direct control over and if you are weary of wearing the mask, then you need Jesus, the man without the mask. He appeared just as He is, having experienced every human frustration. He is full of understanding of the human frailty. He is a Friend to the lonely and strength to the weak. In Him we find true expression, in Him we lose ourselves. With Him there’s no pretense, as His word sees through us and humbles us.

Written by Ijeoma Obi
I am a passionate teacher who finds inexplicable joy in reading others' works. To express my inner thoughts, I write!