October #InkRipples: The Masks We Wear

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on October 5, 2016 in Anecdote, Ink Ripples |

anonymous-657195People wear masks for all types of reasons (and I’m not talking about Halloween masks here). To be deceitful, to protect themselves, to attack others anonymously. There are other more subtle masks that aren’t necessarily about hiding, but are a sort of compartmentalization of our different selves.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw my father in work mode. I was a little kid and for some reason was present when he was talking business. His voice was different and he had a whole new body language I’d never seen before. At the time it was so weird to see him that way, but it gave me another insight into the person he is and the many parts of him. On the eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C. my classmates and I got to see a different side of our teachers when they danced along with us at a pizza party. We saw the people behind the teachers.

For me, there’s my author mask that I wear when I’m at an author event and there’s my parenting mask for when I’m at story time or my son’s school. I even use a different name for my writing vs. my family life. These masks are so complete that they border on different personas, though they certainly can intersect at times. Then there are the million other sides of me that aren’t as consuming as the writer or parent me. I have a mask for each one, each mask is as much a part of me as any other, and all together the make the whole of me (which I suppose is the maskless me…or maybe the me of many masks!).

What kind of masks do you wear?


#InkRipples is a monthly meme created by Katie L. Carroll, Mary Waibel, and Kai Strand. We pick a topic (October is all about masks), drop a ripple in the inkwell (i.e. write about it on our blogs), and see where the conversation goes. We’d love to have you join in the conversation on your own blogs or on your social media page. Full details and each month’s topic can be found on my #InkRipples page.

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  • I remember when I taught eighth grade. I used to remind the kids that I didn’t actually live at the school. I did have a life outside of teaching them. 😉

  • Vijaya says:

    LOL Kelly. I think a lot of kids think that. Katie, I freaked out when my dad put on a santa suit. Masks scare me. I don’t really have a mask per se, but I do try to pretend that things are better than they actually are.

    I still remember my first writing conference when I was delighted by the fact I didn’t have to watch my kids spill milk or water anywhere. It was such a new experience that I gushed about it at a table with some very nice women who’d been through it all before. I realized how unprofessional I sounded, but hey, I was unprofessional at the time. LOL.

  • Mirka Breen says:

    If I wear a false front, it’s to appear more energetic than I am. I have to push myself to give the appearance of pep. This was most pronounced when I worked outside the home. Your dad’s “work face’ would be my “I can do this all day and then go for a jog” face. Of course, as soon as I can let my hair down I collapse…

  • Jenni Enzor says:

    I remember having this type of experience as a child. One way I’ve worn a mask is to have a “professional” name when I was a teaching and a different name with my friends/family. I also once took on a different name for working at a camp and it was strange how my real name no longer seemed like me.
    Interesting post!

    • Thanks for popping in, Jenni! I’ve finally gotten used to the different name thing. I still have to think twice, though, when signing anything to make sure I’m signing the right name.

  • So very true. I’m definitely different for my friends, my work, and my family.

  • Beverly says:

    Though I never looked at it that way, I do wear different masks for different people. I was a teacher, a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and then a grandmother, also a friend. Each of those rolls were different, but I was still me basically. Interesting. Now, I wear a writer’s mask.

  • I often think donning a “real” mask can make a huge difference. Maybe that’s why Halloween is such fun. You can become anything you want just by putting on a different face.

    I’ve always wanted to travel back to one of those early Masque Balls and mingle with the participants.

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