“To be or not to be; that is the question” ~William Shakespeare’s Hamlet play.
Probably used too often it became a normality, this is certainly something I asked myself many times while growing up in my country.
In a society where masks are used on a daily basis and not as history has it originated for use during wars, celebrations or grief; it was as you can imagine tiresome.
As I write this post in the host country of my higher studies I wonder; do any of these people I witness from my window understand what the hardships of failing to choose the right mask means in my country? The sacrifices? I attempt to explain in the following scenario:
The pink with fellow associates, the green with travels, the blue with wealth, the red with royalty, the black with grief, the white with potential caretakers…the girl looks at her mother in awe at the collection of masks she is being taught to use, “how can I remember all of them?” she thinks to herself.
But never was she told the severity of mixing the masks; a very pricey cost it was.
Dad: who were you talking to at the mall today?
Girl: Oh dad, it was Abdulla, remember him from university?
Dad: what did your mother teach you? You forgot your mask haven’t you!
Girl: well I forgot to bring it as I only wore my pink one with friends…you never had a problem with my guy friends dad?!
Dad: I got a problem when you forget your masks young lady; this is not a do-as-you-wish-town!
She was stunned, as days passed by, all her masks were no use to people’s gossip: the pink failed with her friends, the blue with fellow co-workers, the red with high profile people of society, and the white was the worse, somehow as much as she tried to clean it, it had stains of grey and people saw right through it.
She dismissed her parents pleading, blaming them for her freedom of well and thought and charged to show the world how life should be lived; with your true face as an identity.
She was acknowledged by her town with a new mask: yellow for against traditions, worn to resemble shunning by society.
“Although I know it’s unfair I reveal myself one mask at a time” ~ Stephen Dunn.
In my beloved country, the one I feel proud to be part of and I know is proud of me to resemble its future, the fight to be yourself is faced with the worry of the unknown reactions of society.
In my beloved country, you need to choose: being open minded but perhaps questioned or being conservative and hid your real self behind the masks.
In my beloved country, the struggle is current but I see many are now throwing these masks and giving those in doubt the smile of assurance; we are who we are!
And one day they will be too; my cherished Saudi.
New blood joins this earth
And quickly he’s subdued
Through constant pain disgrace
The young boy learns their rules
With time the child draws in
This whipping boy done wrong
Deprived of all his thoughts
The young man struggles on and on he’s known
A vow unto his own
That never from this day
His will they’ll take away
~Metallica – Unforgiven