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We wear the mask that grins and lies,

It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, ----

This debt we pay to human guile; ….

The poem, "We Wear the Mask," by Paul Laurence Dunbar, still rings true. There once was a time that we wore the mask to insulate ourselves from the attacks and the ugliest of hateful people. We would slip on the mask as we left the comfort of our homes. The mask was an unspoken tool that we used to retain our humanity and protect our hearts.

As a child we witnessed how our parents were at home and how they were in the world. As we grew up and ventured into a world where people assumed things about us because of the color of our skin, the shape of your lips and the length of her hair, we too slipped on the mask. But today more of us are wearing the mask everywhere and all the time. Some of us are unable to remove the mask even in the presence of the people that we love. Because people have hurt and disappointed us, we don’t trust anyone, and the mask has become more than it was used for in the past. The mask not only covers our pain, tears, disappointments, and fears, it keeps us from being ourselves. The mask can keep us from revealing who we are to our children and loved ones. It can also keep us from knowing ourselves.

Why should the world be over-wise,

In counting all our tears and sighs?

Nay, let them only see us, while

We wear the mask.......

I agree with the above stanza of the poem, but that applies to the world. We have to let the people that matter the most to us see our tears, disappointments, fears, and failures. We have to acknowledge to ourselves that we hurt, that we have been disappointed and that we have missed the mark.

It’s not always easy to take off the mask, but to me the mask is a tool that I use when needed but is not how I live.

Do you wear a mask and if so, do you remove it with the people that you love?

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