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What is under the mask?

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In the midst - of used up feelings and stale emotions,
In the eye of the hurricane,
When all is deceptively calm,
She asks me, “What is under the mask?”
A deceptively simple question,
And yet it rages within me like a whirlwind,
Forcing my mind to search,
Through long forgotten memories,
And testing once firmly held convictions.
What is under the mask?

The question lingers in my mind as I fight through the day,
Rearing its ugly head every time I put on a different mask,
Showing me with dazzling, painful clarity,
The reflection of my mask upon hundreds of others.

And as time passes on,
The mask sinks deeper and deeper into our skin,
Until it is impossible to detect,
And impossible to remove,
And impossible to see through,
Until it is forgotten.

But in those moments of solitude,
I feel the weight of the mask on my face,
Dragging me down.
She tells me to rip it off while I still can,
To be free.
But even in those moments of solitude,
I need protection. I crave the lies.
I want to prove... something, anything.
And so I keep the mask on,
Feeling it harden as it sinks in deeper still,
Knowing I let it win,
Knowing there is no chance at redemption.

What is under the mask?
I don’t know.
I only know that nothing remains.
It has replaced... thoughts, emotions, desires.
It is a barrier between truth and reality.
A way to hold on to sanity.
She screams, desperately, “Rip it off!”
And without hesitation, I punch the mirror,
Watching the shards of glass fly around me, scraping my skin,
Watching myself slowly fade away.

But in the darkest depths of night,
I still hear the whispers,
Taunting, mocking,
“What is under the mask?”

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