We Wear the Mask
By: Paul Lawrence Dunbar
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
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.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!
I always hated sunglasses. I always thought they were for people who were hiding. That’s okay. Isn’t there a point when we all need to be hidden? When the world expects you to keep churning, where can you seek sanctuary?
Where can you feel safe when you feel like your soul is rotting?
How do you find God’s arms on earth while you’re slapboxing with Jesus?
How do you break through a glass ceiling when your knees are bucking and your feet are bleeding?
What is your mask? What do you use to shield the world from the flaws that make you human? Are you trying to breathe and trying to shout but someone or something is holding your head under water? Someone has placed a big black garbage bag over your head in the middle of your climactic monologue. Now the scene is ruined.
We wear the masks.
We hide and repair.
We return as survivors not victims.
Warriors wear masks.
We wear the masks.
By: Shaun Nickens
We all have moments when someone infuriates us. These are character building moments. There are people in this world who are optimistic and positive. These people see the best in others. As we all know everything in existence has an opposite or a pole. So of course there will always be someone who thinks you are a loser, a delinquent, a rebel, or a “mess.” Most of the time, they feel that way because they don’t understand you. You base your actions on standards, morals or beliefs that they cannot relate to. My response to that is very simple. The Creator made us all different for a good reason. We have different genres of music that we are attracted to. Libraries and book stores have endless amounts of subject matter. Even God doesn’t try to affect your free will. It’s a gift. We all have to use our discernment to be able to direct our lives in the way we want it to go. It takes a strong personality, a twinge of patience and humility, and lastly it takes fortitude. Some of the closest people to me have hurt me the most. Those are the people you wish knew you the best. Those are the people who can get under your skin because you hold them in the highest esteem. However, those people will never be able to live your life for you. As much as you may love them, only your actions are relevant to your destiny. Love doesn’t reside in your mind. Love resides in your heart. There are practical people who can only live in terms of what they can see. Then there are enlightened faith carrying people who believe beyond logistics.
Never compare your situation to someone elses. Stop going through your old classmates Facebook pictures and tweets. Social media is like reality tv. People can edit and show you what they want to show you. They will never share the bad times. That couple that has been married for 20 years with the matching outfits and the Escalade has gone through some tumultuous circumstances. It’s always in poor taste to post troubled times. You will give yourself a personality disorder comparing yourself to others. Its destructive. Live your own life. I’m pretty sure Cinderella wasn’t jealous of Snow White or Sleeping Beauty. No matter how much hair you purchase from the beauty supply store, you are not Rapunzel. No man will ever climb up your locs and rescue you from a tower. Whatever turmoil has you captive in your life, you have to free yourself from before you will find any of the happiness you seek.
I remember childhood sayings like “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” and “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Those were cute but they were crap. They don’t transfer in your adult life. People don’t think before they speak and you may get hurt from time to time. Just make a pact with yourself to do your best always. Your best is enough. Prepare for excellence and tell the haters, “Shut ya Mouth And Call Me Ugly.” 😉
By: Shaun M Nickens