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I’m frightened. I’m unsure, because of what you might think of me, because of what some of you might say about me. What you think and say, the way you act influences me. I act as if they don’t, but they do. Maybe you are frightened too. Maybe the ones who will mock me the most signify the most frightened, I’m unsure.
You go by me day after day, you have activities near me, you even sit by me (though not too near, as if afraid of being misunderstood), but you don’t know me. You form your opinions without real information. You take the mask and try to declare the person, no, less than that, if you even understood the mask, you might glimpse the person. How much time would it take? How much effort? I’m tired of hiding and I disrespect myself for sitting quietly, watching this happen to myself and to others.
We cross-space, glimpse a mask, or an opinion, and hurry along our way. I am guilty, as are you.
What if, suddenly, we see one another for who we are? The mask drops for an instant, followed by an embarrassed silence, a mumbled apology for being human. Quickly we alter the subject or hurry away, frightened of what might befall us and perhaps frightened that it never will. How many are there? Am I one or many? What will it take to change? Maybe it will take only one.
By: R.H. (1999)