Saturday, July 30, 2016

BECOMING QUESTIONS Number 14 - The Answers.

Number 14
The Answers.

I have been asking YOU and as many as I can connect with
a question every week.
I have been encouraged
to receive such beautiful authentic reflections.

Here is the question I asked last Sunday
followed by the profoundly beautiful answers.

A new question will be posted tomorrow = BQ15
We will end with BQ16 the following week.
Then a book will be published with all the reflections
leaving space for the reader to add their own -
all with the purpose of being Becoming Humans.

Becoming Questions Number 14 of 16
What is you most used MASK?
AND, as usual, - say why it is most used?

I have 3 masks that I use the most:
1 - the religious mask - I try to live out my religion to the best of my ability and it's a huge part of my identity; I wear my religion and am proud to show it. However, I am flawed like every other human being. I sin, I get angry, I have feelings of bitterness and find it hard to forgive when I've been wronged (all things my religion teaches me not to do). However, many people who encounter me think I'm some kind of perfect religious guy because faith is a big deal to me. I don't think I wear this mask intentionally, it's just there. This mask worries me because if I live my religion out wrongly, people may see me as a hypocrite. However, this also motivates me to 'practice what I preach'; I try to make my actuality match my mask.
2 - the knowledge mask - I am a teacher so I am meant to be the source of knowledge in the classroom to my pupils. However, I am not very clever; I never was and still am not. Actually, I get intimidated by academic people, even if they are 10 years younger than me because they are genuinely cleverer than me and can make me look like a fool if they choose to (luckily I am humble enough to accept if this happens). However, I have to put on this mask of being a kind of know-it-all professor who can solve every problem and answer every question, even though I am not. 
3 - the 'everything is OK' mask - when going through a bad time, I put this mask on. I don't want others to worry and feel sympathy for me so I always try to wear this mask. This also links to my religion because I have to trust in God and put on this mask that everything will be OK and God is the one that can take care of my internal feelings. I am very good at putting on a brave face so this mask is easy to wear. However, there are only maybe 1-2 people in the world that can see through this mask because they can see in my eyes that everything is not OK at certain times; you cannot put a mask on your eyes and I know some people who have the ability to see into my soul through my eyes and know when everything is not OK.

Mask I use is the one that says “I’m very hurt but I am not going to show you!” You take your problems out on me but I do not do the same to you. I love you more than I can hang on to anger and hurt you throw in my face. As much as it hurts to be treated like an outsider I will not make you feel like an outsider. I cannot do that. I will never do that. 

The most common mask I wear is a mask of strength. I hide my weaknesses to those who depend on me. There are many people in my life who seek me for help (predominately emotional) & it is my duty to humbly help them. If I am weak around these people, they may also feel weak/helpless as they have come to me in hopes that I will restore their strength. When my grandad had a stroke & began having seizures, everyone in the room panicked & cried uncontrollably. I tried my best to hold everyone together & restore their strength with my mask although deep down I was extremely scared. It is always instinctive for me to hold in my emotion & release it when no one else is around, so I expressed my emotion alone the next day. Till this day there is only one person who I have exposed true weakness to, regarding mental health & removing my mask means that they are special to me.

My most used mask is the I am together and strong mask, because I have a fear of being seen as weak and pathetic, I have always had this fear because in the world I grew up in weak people were abused and humiliated ,so I where the mask of strong and together so as not to be seen  as weak.However I have learned how to be vunerable and let that mask go sometimes.
No Name

My most used mask - is a smile - (and a brave shoulders back, chest out, you can do it persona)
sometimes it is a mask and sometimes it then merges or becomes reality and isn’t any more - kind of fake it till you make it I suppose, so more often than not it is genuine :)
I use it because it’s the one with the most benefits and counteracts negative feelings. It protects and avoids too many questions - if you’re smiling then life is just simpler. It also allows me to be selective over who I open up to and avoids awkward questions.
I guess the difference is in my eyes - they find it hard to smile if I’m not genuinely happy
It’s generally not too bad a mask though…
But, very importantly, if you take time to ask me how I am then you will always get an honest answer :)

My most used mask is 'Charles Bronson'. It gets worn when I deal with conflict. Bronson was renown for not displaying his feelings. When people become angry, frustrated or aggressive, I dive into the nearest telephone box and find Mr Emotionless to wear.
Why? It seems to work best at calming tense situations when accompanied with a few pounds of listening and a sprinkle of nods. 

My most used mask is the mask of “normality” (to try and give the outer impression that I am just an average bloke coping with modern life). I used to jump out of bed each morning and put this mask on straightaway, and maybe just let it slip in the evenings or weekends at home. In those days my work colleagues used to say “Mark is such a fun person to work with” (my gallows humour) and my wife would smile knowingly. Although I did also have a few occasions of crying into my beer- talking about ‘taboo’ subjects that bring feelings into play  - when it was loosened completely after one beer too many.
Now it is a struggle to get up in the morning (trying hard to beat the ever present feeling of tiredness) and my family often suffer during my attempts to fit it correctly.
All that anxiety, frustration, anger, regrets, resignation, boredom and world-weariness is difficult to keep undercover…..and some days all slips out….
… shouting at the office TV when Farage comes on the morning after the referendum……or the (almost) ‘under my breath’ expletives aimed at my PC screen…. The mask is used as a means of “getting by” or “getting through” the daily life I have made for myself.

Confidence, working with hard to reach young people, easily damaged, although resilient. things can go wrong in my work, confidence at times is my most used mask.

My most used mask is one at work; it implies that i am perfectly ok and absolutely can be trusted at my job.
Of Course i know how to get out of the building ~ I came into it, didn't I? Of Course i can understand what you are saying ~ whilst at the same time some music is pumping out it's rhythms and rhymes. 
Of Course I can remember what you said to me but five minutes ago ~ only i forgot to write it down, so there is zero chance of my remembering now.
Of Course I can do this simple task ~ that i have not had a chance to practice before.
When all the time, under the gliding swan like exterior, the little feet are paddling away as fast as they can possibly go + my mind is having to be seriously 'talked to' in order to remain functional.
That mask is used as i have lost some abilities over the years, due to various medical episodes. But explanations take time. People just want the job done and the reason why it's difficult isn't really very interesting to most people, most of the time. 
So i've learned to fake it. 
Big smile first. 
Always ask early either for help or to have something repeated.  Always have a pen and paper. 
And finally if folk kick off, always say, "I have a kinda disability, could you help me?" 
They usually do.

My most used mask would be "looking well".  People say to me all the time, you look really well but underneath I am not. I suffer with rheumatoid arthritis so I am invariably in pain. Now when people say it, I just mutter thanks as they never really know the pain you are in. 

My most used mask is my " everything is okay mask!"
I use it fairly often. I don't like to be a bother to people so have a hard time asking for help. So I put on my mask and people think everything is okay.
Maybe I also use my mask to soothe the pain of a situation...kind of like a mantra or prayer...trying to convince myself everything will be okay! 
But I am the same person privately as I am publically. I may get more irritated by my family and feel more free to be more honest with them but still at the core am the same person. I don't pretend. 

This is interesting, I started to answer that my most used mask was probably wearing a cheesy grin when I didn’t feel it, but then I thought about it, and I don’t often use that with people I know well. So I thought a bit more, and decided that a mask I use often is probably ‘listening to others problems’ or ‘supporting/helping others’. I realised that very often I will prioritise listening to someone else and helping them over myself and current problems I might be facing. I was reminded of doing this a number of times already just this week.
So I thought a bit more, and wondered if it counted as a mask, but then decided it probably did. Whilst these things are good in themselves and something we should all practice doing, I thought about my reasoning behind it. I often feel that other people’s problems and struggles are far more important than my own, and they should be given priority in the conversation. I wondered if I felt something, some need in me is being met by this constant trying to help and be a ‘good help’ to others. It hit me square in the eyes. I do this, listen to others and help them wherever I can, because I often feel like no one wants to do this for me. I also think that if I am the support for others then maybe I too will feel supported. But then I look back at many of the people I have helped or listened to for hours on end, and I realised that they never do the same for me? I can have entire conversations with people when I’ve had horrendous weeks, they call me and tell me about their problems (because they already know I listen well and sometimes give good advice), and at the end of the conversation, they don’t even ask 'how was your day', or anything like that, just say 'thanks for that, I’ve got to go now’. And then I just sit with myself, thinking that they only want what I can offer them, they aren’t able, or don’t want, to return what I just did for them.
Maybe I’m just super-selfish, and I should realise that listening, supporting and helping others is something we should all just do. But then I am left thinking…. who will do that for me?
No Name

Hiya Pip, sorry late getting this to you, but my most worn mask is probably also my most common expression - a happy smile. I'm blessed to generally be pretty happy and manage to do life with a genuine smile, although the knock on of that is that even if I don't feel like doing so I'm pretty good at slapping one on regardless, rather than always being completely honest and open about how I'm actually feeling, and often it's only those really close to me who can actually see through it!