We Wear The Mask
by Paul Laurence 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 had been sitting in an office watching two grown men jibbering and jabbering and poking at each other like 3 year old girls, my mind slowly zoned out from reality into a nether world; one like a lift shaft descending into the depths where the light of sanity slowly dissolved into darkness.
The two men were the manager and his assistant manager; it mesmerised me at first, but then my brain just blocked them out through sheer self defence. I`m not a completely sane person at the best of times, but the spectacle posted my psyche into another time zone.
Now, sitting here, I think on all the problems of a dysfunctional workplace run by two grown men more interested in retaining their childhood than trying to run an important part of a business. My brain wobbled and ran for cover. When you suffer from extreme depression, such things matter; it affects and alters perception of your environment quite drastically in a way that ordinary people can never understand. Seemingly small acorns explode forcefully and swiftly into mighty oaks of anguish and despair.
The mask has to be worn at all times, but on occasion, even the mask of normality slips, exposing the reality underneath.
And then the tortured souls arise, for the clay is vile.