Over the past three years, we’ve all got very used to wearing masks. But this song is about a different kind of mask – the type that has been around a lot longer than COVID-19.
I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of masking – that is, camouflaging or hiding your emotions or personality. Masking behaviours are recognised as particularly common in neurodiverse people or in those who have suffered trauma. However, I think it’s also something that is common in all of us at times, although maybe to a lesser extent. For example, we all tend to behave differently in front of our bosses or co-workers than we do with family or close friends – and that’s also an example of a mask.
In this song, I explored the idea of someone with an emotional mask that they wanted to remove, but felt unable to for fear of the consequences. Gradually through the song, the protagonist comes to the realisation that even if they dropped the mask, it wouldn’t help them connect to others, because it’s likely that other people are also wearing their own masks and would be able to conceal their natural response.
I certainly notice that there are some times, particularly times of high stress, when I'm more likely to be trying to conceal my true feelings. I've also noticed that if I've been keeping something secret - for example, news of a pregnancy that is too early to announce - it requires an effort to break the habit of secrecy when the time comes. This seems to me to be part of the same phenomenon - like a mask that gets thicker and harder to remove every time it is put on. Over time, it might start to feel as though removing the mask would be impossible.
The ending of the song may seem rather bleak, but it seemed to flow naturally from these ideas. However, keep in mind that masking can lead to increased stress, anxiety and depression. It’s always best to be your authentic self wherever possible, even though this can be difficult at times. Doing this helps to build a diverse world where everyone is accepted, and that’s surely something to aspire to. So go ahead, tear it off, and show us how you feel!
Listen to Masked on Spotify here, and please share, like, save and follow!