An attempt to make sense of things in a random universe, one Friday at a time.

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Location: Philippines

Leaving my footsteps for you to find and follow, my love.

22 November 2013


Although I have never been able to attend a masquerade ball in my life, I have always been fascinated by the concept of it. There is a theme, and there must be masks. No matter that the masks don’t really mask who one is, it’s the masquerade of being masked that matters. I love that people seem to exert real effort on the costumes that will fit the theme -- at least that’s what it looks like in the movies I watch and in the online articles that I read about masquerade balls -- and that they make the masks real works of art.

But isn’t that what we already do in real life? We put on masks -- makeup, literally, and a public persona, figuratively. We dress the part we want to play: executive, graduate student, starving artist, yuppie, poet, professor.

Even our language is masked. We don’t always say what we feel, out of the concerns of politeness, decorum, and diplomacy. We don’t always reveal what we think, to keep from hurting others, and we don’t always express what we mean, for fear of being misunderstood even in the explaining. Sometimes, we cry out for help, but even those are masked. They are not literal cries for help, but jokes filled with meaning, a word edged into an otherwise banal statement, a story told in a casual manner.

I am part of this masked crowd that wades through the ocean of civility with a calm face, a brave expression, a smile and a joke every now and then, polite laughter, and a social life that seems normal. But underneath, I am nothing like that. Only the people closest to me know who I really am inside, without the mask. An elite few have accepted me, and have stayed with me all their lives. One got very close, saw behind the mask, and did his best to  love me anyway and even removed his own mask in the process. But it was not meant to be. We got blinded by each other's image.

So after he walked away, I just put my mask back on, and continue to wade through the horde in this ball, still hopeful for what life will bring me.

Because beneath the mask, I still believe in love. I still can find happiness in this masquerade ball of life. Someday, someone new and strong and honest and true will walk up to me and say, “I know who you are, even with the mask on, and I love you nevertheless, even without the mask.”

[Image credits: 12.]


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