Image by Sam Williams from Pixabay 

“How long am I going to carry you like a burden which is a necessity for myself”

So there I was, standing right in front of the mirror, the usual day, freshening up. Sorting my hair and thoughts straight up. There it was lying on the shelf. One thing that I need the most and perhaps we all do? But lately, I have been using it way more than anything. Like a kid trying varieties of cotton candy, like an adult using drugs, which gives the joy of being on cloud nine. Not wanting to let go of it, picking it up and fixing it like a new piece of the puzzle of myself. The unwanted one, which I don’t want in my life, yet I keep stomping it, to get it fixed, even if it disturbs the whole puzzle of myself. I’ll fix this piece for today and this story keeps on going and going forever. Even if it doesn’t fit me, maybe it will for others. But hey, at least this will get me through the day, at least it will hide my real face for the day as long as I will put on this mask. I mean, in a way we all have this mask right? Even though it is not for you, you put it on to make yourself okay, to blend in where you don’t want to. Sure it does help with most of the things around you, but the cost of having this mask around with you is much larger and longer than you think, much more than a mere human soul can afford. A deal with the devil might sound better at this point. Each time I’m putting on this mask, each time I’m moulding a new mask for something or someone. Somehow it is changing my core, spreading like a virus. The true puzzle of myself, which we all have, which we all have to explore on our own being ourselves, finding every piece daily which belongs to your true puzzle of yourself. However, now, we are forced by the strings of our surroundings into being someone or somewhere where we don’t want to be. Put on a mask, on our soul and we end up adapting to the situation like a fine wine and dine. Although, this mask ends up slowly shattering our core, our soul, and the puzzle that we need to piece together by ourselves, slowly turning us into something that we don’t want to be. Consequently, everyone around you will start to wonder, “why are you changing” or “you are not like what you used to be” How can I be what I was? When all of you made sure that you wanted me for what you needed. Not for what I am but rather what I can be for you.

That’s it for today’s quill.

The rumble began for both my emotions and my physical self. Being a final-year student sure does take a toll on you. The faces I see, the faces I adore, the faces I hate, the faces I crave, yet I don’t even know if they are what I truly see or if they are just having a mask which has deceived me. Nowadays, it’s truly difficult and painful to look at not only everyone but also myself. Not because they have a mask but because now I do as well. I mean, when I look back, I had it all along but it was not until I realised it that I started to lose myself slowly.

The day begins as if it was a simulation for me. The professors are irritated with everyone as we wonder when this class will get over so that we can get to the next class in which they will at least try hard to give us something worth our time and money. Can’t blame him though, probably wants to quit this monotonous lifestyle. Nevertheless, with the exception of only a few who are willing to show up to a morning class, full of students who don’t even want to be there in the first place. Regardless, speaking of me, I’m still trying to figure out what dimension I am in. I swear these early morning classes do botch your routine over and over. I can’t act bored or uninterested because I don’t want to shatter the hope of professors when they glance at me. I am sympathetic, even though I want to walk away right now from the door, even though I want to shut my eyes and pull the “head down”, just like I did in kindergarten, but I won’t, since I am a mature adult now. So here it is, my first mask of the day, perhaps you have this too? When you want to be looked at by someone who is paying attention or is loving the still state of you for hours, so you need or already have this mask. Covering your true expressions, every mask will end up doing that. It’s just the complexity of the mask and the situation that keeps on changing. This is the most simple one. Try it when you want to pay attention to someone or something, but you can’t, you have to buckle up and get this mask on your face, act like everything is alright and you are truly in an immersive state for that someone or something. Hence, today you will be walking with me and exploring what you and I are hiding within these masks and how much I have lost in being the mask that I need to be, just to fit in, just for the sake of my sanity. This is almost the first pit stop, where we shall see what you and I will become or adapt to in this world of masks. Then comes the most important one or should I say the most prestigious one, my precious friend circle. As I stand with them after the so-called hectic classes of the day, everyone rants about their day, what they hated the most, what they loved the most, what they lusted the most, yet here, I am stuck on guessing whether even one of them is the real them or just their masks. Sometimes I feel like each one is different. When I am interacting with my friend group, either my mask is adapting to them on its own or just deflecting whatever they are projecting on me. Sometimes being fascinated by their words, I feel like mirroring them for that one instance, whereas sometimes being utterly disgusted by their words, I feel like drowning myself into a pool of despair or ripping off that mask on their faces. The wild urge to scream, shout and slur, saying “this is not you, stop trying to be this person that you are not, stop lying, stop saying you did this, you did that, you did them, no one is here cheering for you from their core. They all are in their masks acting to be fitted by you, same goes for everyone vice-versa”. Even so, I stood there nodding and telling them “Oh that’s good” , in the end, I walk away with those words or whatever I uttered there, I don’t remember after a few steps down my path. At this point of the day, I’m already halfway drained and fed up by everything around me, but that one cheerful face brightens me up. The one who sits beside me in a crowded corridor, legs hanging to other masks. For once, I feel like I am myself, for once, I feel like I am myself with her. A cup of coffee and her soothing voice, that’s all one could ever need in one hell of a hellish day. Even though I knew I should be grateful and happy, that here she is accompanying me and walking down my road, that she is giggling at the same words that I used to find cringe. Next thing I know, as soon as I feel my mask fade away by both her touch and aura, my anxiety creeps up on me like my chaotic self towards me, building the humming barriers which make me feel less, yet again letting that mask up because of her kindness, keeps me wondering what if she also has one? I know we all have our battle scars, for her, it would be the night when she was completely broken and peeled her mask off shattering its existence.

“You remember the part in the phir le aaya (back again) song. Wo jo adhuri se baat baaki hai. (The unsaid talks) That’s all that we lost souls are, you know, Even though our every bit of last hope is shattered to pieces. Wo jo ruki si chahh baaki hai. (The unsaid feelings). Somehow that comes up every single time. Not even an ounce of hope now, begging on my knees. For things to change now, alas, that is not the case. The same barriers I had since the beginning and seeing everyone within. It’s just a drink right, it’s just a cigarette right? Why shouldn’t I drink huh? why? I will. I mean, he did while raising me, even when he walked away. Everyone did, but I can’t. At least, I won’t hear anyone ranting about me. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone…… our little secret... sure you don’t want to drink”

I wish I could be like that but that’s just not me. I end up bottling up everything inside me, creating multiple masks to adapt and overcome something or someone, to avoid something or someone, to not let them know what I am, because I don’t know and I will never know. I am now stuck with myself with a mask made of you. Have you ever seen one of the images or felt like you are holding back your words, your thoughts, your grudges? That’s all you trying to escape or a fight fighting within you, just waiting to explode or kill you from within, unfortunately, you can’t let them all out. Hence, you choose these masks, each one dripping slowly with that thirsty bloodlust so that you don’t go insane but is it helping you or even me?

Finally, the moon hit my sheets as if my daily routine was to scream and cry. I bleed a lot while taking off this mask. It’s like, it is becoming a part of me, slowly and steadily. You cannot scratch it that easily, since it is me, it always has been me. I look back upon my thoughts, wishing to pray with his blood-soaked mask in front of the mirror, right on my knees, gravely wishing for that one moment, what could have happened or could have been now? If I chose to speak up, I don’t like this, for once, if I chose to stand up from that circle where not only did no one want me there but I myself didn’t want to be there as well. I could have been the real me that was kissed last night, the real me that was appreciated at that time. But it’s definitely too late now, isn’t it? Look at my shelves, how they’re filled with the masks that I carry, blood soaked in each one having its own face, heart, soul, and lust for settling in. Even this one will make a fine addition to my collection. Do you know why it bleeds so much? Because I and even you end up adapting so much to this masking process, that you start loving it. It becomes a necessity like a drug to survive and in this modern era, it is what it is. We have to either keep on the mask and be loved for what we are and whatnot, or else just lose it, be yourself and fade away from everyone, getting to be the real you. Am I stuck in the mask created by you or was it just me who didn’t know how to deal with everything around me? The ones who were meant to teach us how to deal with this, never even knew this could happen. But guess what mom and dad? These pills are not working anymore! I kept screaming until I splashed back onto my bed, all of my masks laying on the floor, the mirror is now as broken as my thoughts, blood spreading along the sheets like my words with you. I can feel each one of you fading away, I can finally feel each one of these masks burning away. I am feeling like a phoenix right now, burning all of myself, all of these masks, all at once. Aching to rise up and be me to the new dawn or mould a new mask from the ashes to a new dawn for me. I will always be stuck in a mask, but this dawn, it will be a mask of myself.

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