The Masks We Wear

Something strange happened this Halloween at our house. Trick or treaters were more interested in gummies, Nerds and mini Gobstoppers than chocolate candy. I know this because unlike last year when our daughters passed on trick or treating so they could hand out candy, this year they decided to get back out there. Having created some group costumes with friends, this year was more about the social part of the holiday than the sugar part.

At the end of the night, our house was where they and their friends returned to to count their candy and engage in the inevitable trading.

Each of our twins takes on a different role for events like these. Our ‘oldest’ is generally happy to be there to enjoy the fun and will just go with the flow. Her sister considers herself the organizer and laid out how the evening would go. When they returned to our house she was the one barking orders about how everyone should organize their candy, how the trading would proceed, rules for the process and so on.  When things got late, she and I walked one of her friends home, and on the way home she sort of slumped her shoulders, smiled and said “I’m glad Halloween is over.” She leaned into my hug and quickly added “It was fun, but it’s nice to have some quiet again.”

I smiled as I thought of her comments and the question earlier in the day, when I’d been taking a group of college students through a Journeous workshop. The professor kicked off the discussion with a relevant question considering the holiday: What masks do you wear?

It took a moment for students to realize her question wasn’t literal about what costume they were wearing that day but about the masks we wear the other 364. Some talked about the “I’m happy” mask, but the one that got the most head nodding was the “I’ve got it all together” mask.

As I saw my daughter’s body language, I realized she sometimes wears this very same mask, and it made me wonder why she thinks she needs to. Though in wondering that, I equally realize I should probably look in the mirror.

I couldn’t help but ask myself the very same question. What masks do I wear? And which do you? And are these the ones that serve us? I’ll be pondering that question as I rip open my next Reese’s. How about you?

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Lia Dunlap - November 1, 2018

Great topic and insight. Yes, I believe we all wear masks at some time or another. If we are interested in true connection and engagement it’s best served when we set them aside.

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