What Mask Do You Wear?
Photo by Michael Murphy Photographic

What Mask Do You Wear?

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By Steven O. Evans, PhD

As we round out the last couple of months of 2020, I still joke about whether I am going to perform surgery or rob the bank every time when I wear a mask to go out for a meal or just to buy milk at the grocery store. I don’t mean, of course, to make light of the serious pandemic that has gripped our world, but I believe laughter is still the best medicine¹.

I recently posted a picture on Facebook of the masks I have in my car. They are an assortment of masks from Florida Medical Center, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLiFF), Pride Fort Lauderdale, Miss Richfield 1981, South Florida Symphony Orchestra, and various others. I used to collect the lanyards from festivals and events, and I now have a collection of masks. What a shift in paradigms this has been.

I want to challenge us to think about the other masks² that we wear. No, not the ones made of material, but the ones from the hurts and trauma of our past. They are much thicker than these of linen or cotton fabricated by human hands. And many of them, we have been carrying for years. Yes, they may protect us and our emotions. But oftentimes, they are walls and barriers that push people away³.

What mask are you wearing? What pain do you have that has surfaced as a result of 2020? I challenge each of us to look to 2021 with a fresh start, drop some of the masks that we have been hiding behind, and create deeper, more meaningful friendships.

My intuition tells me that great things are to come. Let’s let happiness be abounding.4

All the best.

Steven O. Evans, PhD

Publisher and Editor in Chief

¹ Psychiatric Times. “Laughter is the Best Medicine.” 35 (8).

² American Journal of Psychiatry. “The Multivariate Masks of Depression.” April 2006.

³ Journal of Personality. “Defensiveness and Defense Mechanisms.” January 2002.

4 As quoted from and in memory of Dr. Angela Easterday-Holder, former Chair and Professor of Music at Carson-Newman University.