I’m Not Saying I’m One of the Avengers…

…I’m just saying no one has ever seen me and any of the Avengers in the same room together. (Except that one time at Comicon, but those were all fakes.)

If you haven’t already closed this page, you’re probably thinking, “Where the hell is this going?” I’ll tell you.

It’s going two places: First – I really love superheroes (and I’m especially partial to the Avengers – I love Captain America), and I wish I could be one, and second – their disguises got me thinking about how much I like to have an excuse to dress up, which in turn made me think about costumes and masks, and that started me down the path of reflecting on all the ways people hide themselves. (Can you follow that train of thought? I’m sorry you have to try and figure it out – just imagine what it’s like on the inside of my head.)

Like most women I have a long memory for certain events, and like most introverts I live in my head a lot and randomly ruminate on whatever gets into my brain at any particular time.

Recently my mind turned to a friend I grew up with. This person isn’t really a friend anymore but still pretends to be when it’s convenient. And while this does hurt on some level, I’m a different person than I was 20 years ago (thankfully!) and instead of investing my time in emotion I tend to invest my time in logic and Understanding The Why.

In this case I’m still working on The Why – I can only assume this person is a user of people, and as a user of people I imagine you have to keep lying and keep using because eventually everyone catches on and the only way to keep people in your life and serving whatever purpose you have for them is to keep wearing a mask, and changing the mask as you need to.

But there are other masks – the ones we wear to be someone specific in different settings.  Who we are at work, at home, with friends, with strangers, with your spouse or lover.  And in all those cases we do it for the same reasons as superheroes and villains: To appear as a hero, a victim, the sidekick, a villain, or even a supporting  character or extra.

This is why Captain America is my favorite. He wears a mask, but everyone knows who he is and he is always the same guy. Some people might think he’s boring or predictable. And maybe he is.  But what’s wrong with being a consistently courageous, kind, honorable, and honest person?

I would love that kind of predictability. (In people, not in life. I find I like routine until I’m restless. Then I like spontenaity, until I get tired. Then I like routine…)

But it’s rare that you get predictability in people, or even in yourself. Because we are so trained to wear our masks and be who we think we should be, or who people want us to be. I resist my masks. I resent them sometimes.

There are days when a physical weight comes with putting them on, and I’m suffocated in my heart from trying to let my should breathe through the stifling protection they offer.

And yet I wear them.