Wearing Masks 

People wear masks. I think it’s safe to say that everyone wears one to hide their true selves. We’re all so worried and scared to show ourselves because we want to be accepted one way or another. And sometimes we wear masks to avoid opening up to people, even towards the ones one loves and cares about. 

I feel like we feel the need to put up a front. That we have to prove we’re strong by not showing any weaknesses. But that’s not true. That’s just what we’ve grown up seeing. Opening up and showing your weaknesses makes one a stronger and respectable person. Seeing someone cry doesn’t make them weak. It’s an emotion that everyone on this planet has and it’s not something to be ashamed of. 

I seem to have forgotten that people hide themselves to avoid questions and confrontation. It doesn’t matter who it is, whether they be family, friend or acquaintance. People hide. You never really know what a person is going through until they open up. A person you thought you knew, could be a totally different person simply because they don’t show it. 

The last two years of my life have been nothing but a roller coaster. My family hasn’t been much of a family after what happened to my dad. We all grew distant and found our own ways of coping; whether it be playing a video game, spending time with a significant other or being outdoors. 

I never thought about what my other family members were going through because I was drowning in my own sadness. I was angry at every person telling me that everything was going to be okay, because it wasn’t. Everything had changed. I knew, my family knew, that nothing was ever going to be the same. I was annoyed at everyone that asked about my dad. I remember thinking to myself if you really truly cared you would’ve came to visit him in ICU instead of asking a million and one questions to only tell other people who are just curious about him. 

So much change happened in a short amount of time and we all dealt with it alone. We felt alone even though we weren’t. There have been a lot of tears and regret when I was away from anyone. I can only imagine how my younger brothers felt when they were away from everyone. There were a lot of fake smiles and false positive vibes when I was in front of people simply to avoid questions and the whole, ‘everything’s going to be okay’ or ‘I know how you feel’ talk. 

Wearing a mask became second nature to me to the point where I always felt numb. I felt empty. Eventually, wearing a mask 24/7 made me into a ticking time bomb. Feeling the need to explode at any given moment. 

I found solitude when I met Shawn. Because of him, I’m where I am today. I have some rough days but he helps me get through it. He believed in me even when I don’t believe in myself. Because of him, I’m more at peace with myself than ever before. 

That’s what I need to be for my younger siblings now. As I wrote earlier, it doesn’t matter who it is people wear masks and sometimes you don’t know what’s really going on till they open up. My brother opened up to me for the first time…ever. I never knew how he felt because he pushed everyone away. I never knew how much he loves, cares and worries about me. All this time I thought he didn’t care, that he didn’t love me. 

Time. That’s what everyone needs. In time I’ve learned that people’s true selves come out because wearing a mask is a lonely and hurtful place. And no one should ever be afraid to tell people how they truly feel. No one should ever feel ashamed or weak. 

My goal is to not have to wear a mask and to be open to my loved ones. My goal is to make sure my siblings feel the same way and hopefully fully open up to me. Because all a person really needs is someone who will listen. Someone who will support and believe in them when they can’t do that for themselves. Lending an ear and a shoulder to cry on is one of the best gifts anyone could ever ask for. 

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