Just back from the Spooky Empire Halloween convention in Orlando, and as I pack away the heavy rubber mask I wore at the Con, I reflect on the happy faces of the people who rushed to take a photo of my family’s group costume. Completely concealed by the mask, with the sounds of people’s voices muffled and only a tiny slice of sight, I had the rare opportunity of being completely incognito.
It was an oddly freeing experience, as I posed for one photo after another, still myself, but unknown for my true face. My new hair color (I went from blonde to brown) did not matter to the joyous faces who asked me to turn this way and that. People put their arms around me, hugged me, smiled, and stared openly. My anonymity made them comfortable.
I have to admit that people are not always at ease in my presence. I wear the intensity of survival in my eyes and tight jawline. I often look stern, even when I am feeling as vulnerable as a newborn. My tendency to wear a grumpy look when pondering my latest story line, is often assumed by others to be moodiness. I look serious.
In life, we all make assumptions based on people’s appearances. The mask I wore this Halloween freed me from onlooker’s judgement based on my looks. The mask also forced me to look at my own assumptions.
One of the media guests at the event was Burt Reynolds. He is nearing 79-years-old. His face looks pained, his posture bent. If I saw him on the street, it would not be his fame that I witnessed. I would not see the mega movie star, the actor who defined a generation of 1970’s movies. I would have seen an old man, looked past him, and missed out on the lessons of a superstar who had it all, lost it, and learned how to survive.
Whether we like it or not, it is human nature to react to physical appearance. Wearing a mask made me realize how much joy is lost to assumptions made based on looks.
A few thoughts from my time under the mask-
- The less we assume, the more we will know.
- Physical beauty captivates, but its fade is the true freedom.
- Inside every frail, aging form is the bright soul they wore in youth.
- Facial expression is an unreliable measure of humanity.
Blessings to be seen in your truest form,
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