Masks

She had blue skin,
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through,
Then passed right by-
And never knew.

-Shel Silverstein

In the 9th grade a had a very interesting English teacher, Mrs. K. She had a very unique background, being part Native American, LDS, and a Drama teacher as well. As on of our final “projects” we made masks. We literally took plaster bandages, soaked them in water, and made masks of our own faces. The next day when they had finished drying, we took them outside and painted them. Some chose their favorite colors, others chose the colors of their favorite sports team. But gave mine meaning. It was yellow, with a big stripe of red diagonal from the chin, across the nose, to the forehead. It had a moustache, colorful eyebrows, a purple nose, and black pouring from one of the eyes.

What does any of this have to do with an English class? Of course we had to write a paper on it. Why did we choose these colors? Why do we wear masks? What do we look like under our masks. Mrs. K was also my Drama teacher at the same time I had this class. One day, with previous warning, we had to get infront of the class, symbolically take off our masks and act out three separate events in our lives. I don’t remember mine, and honestly, I hadn’t been through any thing that tough yet. But I learned A LOT about my classmates that day. We cried together, we laughed together, and we all grew a little closer. Summer would soon pull us all apart, but that class, along with my English class, made a huge impact on my life…

Although I hadn’t quite fully realized it at the time, I was hiding a lot beneath my mask, and most of it wouldn’t start to come out until April of last year. Just like the poem says, if we hide who we really are, and then try to find someone who will accept us, it’ll never happen, we’ll just walk right past that person. It took “20 seconds of insane courage” to start the honesty flow, but when I see where I am now, it was all worth it.

Any way… good night/morning… Just be yourself, maybe someday you’ll meet another blue person just like you.

Landon