By Linda Lovely
I need a mask.
I haven’t worn one since grade school when we went Halloween trick-or-treating, making sure to hit Mrs. Bradley’s house early before she ran out of homemade caramels.
No, I don’t want a mask for Halloween 2016. I need one to wear at certain meetings I force myself to attend—meetings that often leave me too irritated to sleep.
After contemplating this month’s blog topic—masks—I realized one might come in very handy for mandatory attendance events that force me to interact with (or at least listen to) people I believe to be total hypocrites, bullies, or arrogant buttheads.
My problem is I tend to show exactly what I think in such encounters. I know folks who can smile sweetly while face-to-face with someone they despise and then ridicule or curse that person the minute she’s out of hearing range. Other people can appear as serene and blank-faced as a Buddha while listening to someone tell lies or exaggerate to make their point.
Not me. I’ve tried. Even when I know it’s in my best interests to mask my feelings, I typically fail. Maybe I’m missing some mystery gene that would let me command my facial muscles to smile when my heart and gut are telling me to narrow my eyes and glare.
For better or worse, one look at my face usually tells people everything they want (or don’t want) to know about my mood—joyful, angry, sad, excited, bored, disgusted. Of course, I do have a neutral expression. It usually indicates I’m napping.
My inability to mask my own feelings leads me to be fascinated by the chameleons I encounter who can change their colors at will and react in whatever manner they think will gain them the best advantage with any audience or situation. I study these individuals in real life for a very good reason—they make exceptional villains in fiction.
Guess that’s another reason to attend those meetings I dread. Great research for characters.
Can you mask your feelings? If so, what’s your secret?