The Keepers of the Masks

November 24, 2008
By Audrey Harnagel, Park City, UT

The typical teenage socialite
A shallow menace
Flaunting herself about the school
Fawned over by anybody who’s anybody
She wears a mask

A shield has developed over the years
She hides under her protective shell
Cowering with fear whenever she contemplates
Standing out

She plays invincible
Like nothing ever hurts her
She can never open up
For fear of releasing something
That would knock her off
Her pedestal
For she is Queen

Friends that aren’t friends
For they too wear masks
They’re all perfect
Robotic people for a superficial world
When you try to pass yourself off
As a fictional character
You must be an excellent actor

She creates a faux persona
Indifferent to everything
Family, grades, values
For it’s all so archaic
You can’t be on top
If you play by the rules

Every so often it gets to her
Worries about her future
Anxiety about throwing her education away
But it’s the price she pays
To rule all
Plus boys don’t like smart girls anyway

And yet…
A crack in the mask

She blows off her family to party with friends
Don’t give in to peer pressure?
Please, it makes all the difference
If you aren’t accepted it means you are an outcast
Unwanted by everyone

The masks build up
Soon it takes more than one to sustain
Her royal status
She must pretend to disregard her parents
As well as remain unaffected by others’ opinions
It wears her down
Always pretending
Always a lie
But it’s worth it

Another crack

She hates what others see in her
She hates what she sees in herself
She wishes they could know her true identity
Instead of hiding behind what she’s supposed to be
When she looks in the mirror
What’s looking back?
An imposter

This person doesn’t exist
Just another nameless, faceless actor
Wearing another mask
She doesn’t matter
Outside this production
A huge tragedy
For other people wearing the same masks

Who is the director,
The puppet master,
Behind the scenes?
Everyone fears
If they don’t know the perfect lines
They will be turned away
By who?

She wants to get out
What’s it like for someone on the outside
Looking in?

Free of all the drama
All the expectations
Free of what other people think
Of conforming
Free of thriving on acceptance
Free of hiding
The mask breaks off

Her true personality revealed
Nothing to hide
She falls, but it feels like victory
In all the hoops it took to jump through
She missed the liberation of being herself
Her “friends” are gone
But new ones replace them
With masks removed
Bonds build stronger

This is what teenage years are all about

It’s easy to conform to others
Easy to get sucked in
It’s hard to be yourself
To take that first step
To risk putting yourself out there
But once the mask is disregarded
The risk is worth the reward

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