Being Charlie – Paris
Forlorn – Rajasthan

“God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.”

William Shakespeare

 Every time, I look around me, I find myself drowning under a sea of masks. Each, hiding more than it can reveal. Each, trying it’s best imitation of the one next to it. We’re taught to wear masks at an early age. Hiding what we truly feel, goes a long way, in establishing strength and asserting dominance — in the struggle for power. It’s the primary rule for survival in the urban jungle. Never show who you are, even, if you might just forget who you were.
The Singer – Beijing
The Sound of Music – Brussels

“There is a face beneath this mask, but it isn’t me. I’m no more that face than I am the muscles beneath it, or the bones beneath that.”

Steve Moore

I’ve never been too good at hiding how I feel. Makes me a bad liar. Probably, explains why, I’ve lost many games requiring a poker face. And whenever I try to put on my best mask, I end up with a contorted face. What can I say? I tried.

Smile – Rome
The Lone Woman – Guilin

“A mask tells us more than a face.”

Oscar Wilde

And yet, many seem to flout this rule without a care for its consequences. If they don’t like something, they’d frown. If they’re sad, they will show it. And if they are happy, they can light up the world.

F 1
The Tribes of Northeast India – Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Studies, Shillong


Posing – Seoul


“Masks beneath masks until suddenly the bare bloodless skull.”

Salman Rushdie

Whenever we travel, I’ve seen so many who don’t care much for masks. They’ve thrown them away and traded it for honesty. And have used their vulnerability to their advantage. Winning hearts and smiles and above all, giving you hope, that some of us — can survive — without a mask. And we don’t need to hide behind it. We’d do just fine, the way we were born.



Posted by:twobrownfeet

Writer-Photographer Duo. Now in Seoul.

42 replies on “The Face behind the Mask

  1. What an absolutely beautiful post Cheryl. Love the photos, stunning as always, which marry so wonderfully with your words and quotes. Heartfelt and perfect for the Daily Post theme this week 🙂

    1. Thanks a bunch, Michael! We meet so many interesting people on our travels. Although, we’d never meet them again, what strikes me the most, is how much we can learn from them. 🙂 Have a great week ahead!

  2. A beautiful post. I also like that you and I both chose the same title for our post: “The Face Behind The Mask”, chose black and white photographs, but ended up in very different directions. Your photos are truly beautiful.

    1. Thank you for your comment! It’s interesting how we started on the same path and ended up in totally different directions. 🙂 Made me smile. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I think, sadly, we are brought up to think that we are weak in some way if we show our feelings and therefore tend to hide behind a mask. A faces that shows how a person is feeling is far more attractive.

    1. I agree. My line of thought exactly. I wish we could be who we are minus the pretense. That’s why I love travelling. On the road, we meet incredible (real) people. And the ones who rarely meet visitors from the outside – are the most honest. 🙂

      1. Both of us! And that was the funniest part! Haha! Then, Bora had a celebrity moment and wanted to take part in the event meant for kids!

  4. Another great write with a great message, Cheryl. Love the message: that we don’t need to hide behind a certain look or face to be the best we can be. We are the best when we are ourselves.

    Some masks (like the literal kind that you put over your face) scare me, like the ones that look like a clown face or with overly exaggerated figures. I don’t know why, but they always scared me since I was a kid 😀 I’m quite the opposite of you when it comes to expressing emotion – I’m very good at hiding it. I’d say it takes practise…but I think you are honest and kind enough not to lie to others about how you are feeling by showing your true face 🙂

    1. Thank you, Mabel! Truly appreciate your comment. 🙂 I understand your fear of clowns. I don’t like them either. I wish I was more like you (or Basil). I can never hide how I feel. And am always driven by emotion. Very bad combination in the real world. Good for writing, though! 🙂

      1. You can pratice your poker-face more, maybe that will help 🙂 But I think revealing your true feelings you essentially don’t lie to the other person and sometimes that can work in your favour 🙂

  5. Interesting post. I suppose which face you wear depends on your character and the circumstances, and if you’re traveling you might be a bit freer as repercussions are only temporary. But for some, like politicians, do we ever see a true face?

    1. Couldn’t agree more, Dave. I’ve always wondered if politicians, like actors, can show their true face – without a mask. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

    1. Isn’t she gorgeous? A raft ride is pretty common among tourists in Guilin. It’s a tourist trap, something we fell for. But, the experience was enjoyable. She was the only woman ferrying tourists across. And what’s fascinating is the strength she must have. It’s not easy on those arms.

  6. What an interesting post! Really got me thinking… I’ve always been told I don’t have a mask & whether I like it or not, my eyes just give it away….Although I have to admit, I try, a lot, to put on that mask. Is it part of being a grown up? Or so I’ve heard:)

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