A Mask

A Mask

People sometimes misinterpret what a mask wearer is like. Typically people consider them unintelligent, selfish, narcissistic and worthless. I mean, why would someone wearing a mask to earn a living be intelligent? It’s not helping anyone, it’s not hard and anyone can do it. A mask wearer is only a mask wearer because they failed in school or dropped out and now they have nothing else to do, and yet they have the audacity to think about themselves as superiors? Damn, I wonder what their parents think of them.

As an 10 year old, being a mask wearer wasn’t even a thought in my head. Although class was the only place in the world where I wasn’t stuck in a box called reality, there was no way I was going to be one of “those” mask wearers. The thought of being anything like the reputation made me sick. So sick that I, myself, started visualizing mask wearers as these self obsessed monsters that live off of others’ self insecurities just to make themselves feel worthy. I wasn’t going to be that. Eventually, the thought wasn’t even and idea, instead a textbook hiding in the very back corner of my bookshelf.

Expectations from my parents; 90% is a minimum in core, and 60% is a minimum in the arts. Well, maybe not for my other siblings, but for me. It’s expected for my sister to put on the mask and express herself. Damn…she’s good at wearing a mask. However, she is still expected to pass a core with at least a 73, and is expected at least a 90 in the arts… which is a bit different than my standards.

Expectations from other; Smart. Know-it-all. No fun. Ugly. For a while that was my fault though. I let them believe it all by not being who I really wanted, and sticking to their standards.

I guess that’s the price you pay for putting a passion in a box and covering it with chains made by the company “stereotypical giftedness”.

Sometimes I’d cuss at the lock while crying at the expectation to make a change in the world. Sometimes I’d praise the lock for inspiring me to make a change in the world. And sometimes I’d down right ignore both the lock and box to make myself ordinary.

Expectation sucks.

It really does.

The though of not being who/what you want sucks.

Having to follow a constant instruction manual sucks.

Wearing glasses with constant reminders on how to see the world, sucks.

It all just…sucks.

Until you eventually break it. Expectation is like a game of tag. Someone starts the game all of a sudden and everyone just plays along. Sometimes not everyone wants to play, but they don’t say anything because they don’t want to ruin the fun. Sometimes the people who started the game don’t want to play, but they don’t want to say anything because they don’t want to sound hypocritical. It’s all a game until the person who’s “it” says “no more”. I was “it”. Expectation was what I was chasing, and standards were what “tagged” me.

So I said “no more”.

I unlocked that chain and took out passion…my mask. The chain has remained unlocked since. The chain is one with me just as much as the mask is, but neither one defines me. When I put on the mask and recite a script written by the hands of an artist, I feel home. When I stay up until 3 a.m. researching why I do what I do by the connection of microscopic nerves, I feel home. I’m not a stereotype and I’m not an expectation. I am me. I am a mask wearer, creator, artist and most importantly, I am Nicole.

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