Maybe it was because of stuff that happened when I was growing up, maybe it was just the way I was born, maybe it is neither nature or nurture but a combination of the two, but there is something about me that does not seem to be the norm for everyone. Many know the concept of people wearing "masks", but generally this is referred to in the same way as "stations" are a part of society.
My mask is not hiding who I am and it's not a front for my true self so much as a barrier. Time for another analogy!
My heart, my pure self, is a bubble of blown glass. Highly fragile, dangerously susceptible to being broken, or worse, turned to dust. Now if it gets crushed, shattered, or turned to dust (as it has on soooo many occasions), it can be repaired and rebuilt, but it won't be the same, it never will be, I never will be. It gets fired up once more, then carefully and delicately reformed. So to help keep my heart from being shattered I have a mask set up. It's a clear material, so you can still see my heart, but cannot touch it so easily. It's bouncy and stretchy, think of the same stuff bouncy balls consist of. It's quite jovial, that's one of the defense mechanisms I had installed, I'll explain shortly. This mask is to protect me more than anything. It's not to hide behind.
Has anyone fully experienced my heart free of the mask? Of course! Did those experiences make me want to be rid of the mask? Sadly, no... They're part of the reason I've made the mask thicker as the years have passed. To quote VG Cats: make it "faster, stronger, less explodie!"
As to the defense mechanisms, why do I need them? Because people have a tendency to be cruel to one-another, especially if they think you're better at something than they are. I could draw, I was good at it, I got picked out of the herd of classmates to be ridiculed and tormented.. and man, can kids be torturously evil... So the main line of defense? Be quiet... stay quiet, until the second defense can kick in: Get them laughing with you before they start laughing at you. Yeah, basic, but it's worked now for years. I want people to think about that. I'm a grown woman that still knows that if she goes out the door and does not do this she will be bullied and ridiculed. Feel good now, society?
I've become a good judge of people faking. And by this I mean all the people that are back stabbing, false friends. Still a couple slip passed the radar, but I've saved myself a lot of issues (as recounted to me from people that did not believe me when I told them to be careful).
Oh, I forgot about the third defense: don't give a crap. Now this is the hardest one for me, and I forgot it because at times I just cannot follow it. But minor things, I can let slide, I can ignore. Or I can make it look like I don't care long enough until I'm alone and then it will hit me, I'll break down, when I feel safe enough to do so.
I wish I could say that I've found a "mask free zone" outside of my home, but every time I tried before I would have to rebuild my heart and once bitten, twice shy. I've been bitten so much I swear that I don't have pores in my skin, they're the fang marks I'm left with.
So until I find more mask free zones, or until my heart is forged out of tougher stuff, I will let people passed the barriers only after careful observation and time.