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The Me Behind the Masks

Updated on April 12, 2017
lambservant profile image

Poetry is one of Lori's favorite ways to write about memories, express feelings, and inspire others through her faith in God.

Source
Bat Nana.
Bat Nana. | Source

Why we wear masks

Almost everyone wears a mask, at least once in awhile. There are many reasons we wear masks - usually because we don't want people to see our pain and our struggles. We might wear a mask because we are not comfortable being ourselves. Or, we don't want to drag people down when they ask "How are you?" We may just be a private person, and sometimes we need to keep things private. We may think people will not understand what we are going through (often times that's true, sometimes it's not). Perhaps there is a stigma to our issue and we'll be embarrassed or humiliated if we expose ourselves. Maybe if we don't wear a mask we will have to give up denial - a huge defense mechanism - and the fear, pain and/or shame will smack us over the head with a two-by-four of reality, and we fear we just may cry and never stop; we fear we'll fracture into a million little pieces; we may feel like we'll die from the power of it, or worst of all, even want to die.

I wear masks a lot when I'm hurting. I know many of you do too. I have told a few trusted friends, my therapist, and even God (who already knows), and now you, that I could win an Oscar for my masked performances, for all the reasons above at one time or another (and I know you could too, right?). I can't hide from God and don't want to. I don't have to wear a mask with Him. I am learning to be real with people in certain situations if it might be appropriate and if I think they can be trusted, or more so, if my experience can help someone else. I've had many such occasions. I'm all for not wasting your pain.

Me with my grandsons at church Christmas party.
Me with my grandsons at church Christmas party. | Source

The story behind the poem

I've done a fair amount of being real on Hubpages, especially lately. It's easier to do it with you all because although I have come to know and love many of you to pieces, it's still easier when you don't have to look people in the eye. And many of you have too, and I have been helped and inspired by your experiences, encouragement, and honesty. I can't even express how much. You all have helped me grow. A few years ago Faith Reaper here on Hubpages wrote a poem on masks that moved me deeply. I'd forgotten about having saved it on my computer. See, we all know about masks.

I wrote this poem last year in one of the darkest, stormiest valleys of my life. I was able to find a very few trusted people to talk to, but never fully taking off the mask. It was a horrible lonely time for me. I found myself getting some of my pain out when I branched out into poetry and fiction.

And you know, I think it's okay to wear a mask in certain situations. There are a lot of unsafe people out there and we have to be discerning. But I marvel at how God sent just the right people into my path at my most desperate hours last year. I was able to take off the mask in those few instances.

This is deep so I will lighten this up a bit. First of all, I am not a selfie person. If I take a selfie, it is with someone almost always, so technically they're not selfies. I was going to go on an image site and find all my photos for this piece. But I thought, why not step out of your comfort zone, Lori (honestly), and use mostly photos of me playing a role in one of my many masks (there are a few that came from another source). Actually, I'm having a good time in most of them. I am known as a bit of a clown. Comic relief is good sometimes. I might be really hurting and clowning around can either be a mask, or it can bring me out of my funk. I love doing stand up comedy but I don't get many opportunities. I have a few friends who when I'm with them, we nearly get kicked out or coffee shops, stores, and restaurants. No arrests as of yet.

And finally, on to the poem.

I'm an Oscar caliber performer.
I'm an Oscar caliber performer. | Source

The Me Behind the Masks

I'm an Oscar caliber performer,

playing the roles of

the only parts of me

I've been willing to let anyone see.

I have many characters,

each with their own mask.

Comedian - Taking a bow with my comedy team.
Comedian - Taking a bow with my comedy team. | Source

I'm a versatile chameleon,

from writer to comedian,

conservative to Bohemian.

I can play wise and witty,

vibrant and flitty,

verbose or pithy.

Bold and brash. Embarrassed our friend taking the photo.
Bold and brash. Embarrassed our friend taking the photo. | Source

You'll see me bold and brash,

sometimes calm, sometimes rash,

always performed with great panache.

You'll see my spirit of devotion

deep faith in motion;

with prayers softly spoken.

Sorrows unspoken.
Sorrows unspoken. | Source

All these are a part of me,

the only parts of me

I've let anyone see.

Sometimes a mask will slip,

offering a glimmer of the me

I've not wanted anyone to see -

the me that is heartbroken

from sorrows unspoken,

that rage like an ocean.

Hiding behind the laughter.
Hiding behind the laughter. | Source

You see I'm a fractured actor,

hiding behind laughter,

with a confidence I cannot master.

But I will never regret,

the adversities I've met,

nor the tears that I've wept;

for in my travail,

God's mercy unveiled,

by which I've prevailed.

Now bravely I've passed,

through a threshold of glass,

allowing to the world to see

the me behind the masks.

© 2016 Lori Colbo. All rights reserved.

© 2017 Lori Colbo

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    • threekeys profile image

      ThreeKeys 3 months ago from Australia

      A heartfelt poem Lori.

      I used to meet everyone and anyone with my heart on my sleeve but you just cannot afford to do that. Not everyone has best intentions towards others. So that it is true we have to learn to be discerning. I am happy for you that the right kind of people are around you now. Look foward to more of your poetry Lori.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very cool. I was thinking about the masks I put on and then believe. I do not have to be all sleepy when I get up. And I don't have to be all tired after a long day. But it is the time of day to wear those masks. Silly me.

      I think I like your masks.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I wonder just how many masks I've worn throughout my life time? Probably more than I would admit, but a few years back I removed them, many different colors and styles. HP has given me a venue to do that. Writing, putting any hurts on paper, sharing is a wonderful healer. I've never attempted to hide from God, like you said, he knows our heart's. I love your poetry and the pictures are perfect for this piece. Thanks for sharing Lori.....

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 months ago from The Caribbean

      Lori, I think that revealing yourself in poetry gives the reader more to admire and less to analyze. This and the previous poem are beautiful and courageous. I love your genuineness.

    • lambservant profile image
      Author

      Lori Colbo 3 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Three Keys, I used to be the same way years ago and learned that not everyone "needs to know" and not everyone is trustworthy. But I am learning to discern. Thanks for stopping by.

    • lambservant profile image
      Author

      Lori Colbo 3 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Eric,

      "I was thinking about the masks I put on and then believe." Then both funny and profound. I can see where that's applicable to me sometimes too.

    • lambservant profile image
      Author

      Lori Colbo 3 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Dora, interesting comments. I want people to hear my heart, experiences, the lessons I've learned. I don't want analysis. I always appreciate your feed back. Blessings sister.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 3 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Most creative poetry. That is the way the world is today. We tend to hide behind "masks" to protect ourselves from others hurting us or things like that.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      We hide behind others, too. but, as we age, we learn to appreciate the old codgers we have become, wrinkles and all, as clowns with laugh lines no longer painted on. And, if I am good enough for God to care about, even to sacrifice his son for, surely I am good enough for anybody else, except for their faults. Their faults are their concerns, and God loves them, too.

    • lambservant profile image
      Author

      Lori Colbo 2 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Amen Demas!

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