It’s as if I’m living through a translucent shadow, unsure if I can still call who I am me
From the beginning of the book, I always understood Gatsby’s projection of an ideal version of himself as an image for others to see. An illusion is the ultimate security, a mask the ultimate cover. Masks hide who you are, but masks can be manipulated into whatever you want them to be, making them far easier to exhibit than it is to reveal the tender self beneath. Each person has a mask, some more intricate than others. Some have a simple mask with little work put into it. Some have graceful, flowing masks made of flowing silver and gold fabric. A mask is a cover, however it is something you create, and is a part of you from the start. The problem arises when you and your mask become unknowingly more intertwined than you thought; the silver and gold becoming indistinguishable from the skin and bone of your face. Thus begins the change in the person beneath. People change because they continually modify and become their mask.
Taking off your mask is an act of complete trust, a trust that anyone who sees what is behind that mask will accept the raw, flawed humanity behind it. Those who reject the face are unlikely to ever see it again; those who do not will rarely see the mask again.
Gatsby discovered the convenience of a mask when he met Daisy, and created a mask formed from an entire ideal reality that he threw himself headlong into. The mask however was too grand for any human face to absorb, and his desperation for an unattainable illusion to become reality is what ultimately ended him.
I have always envied those who charge into the crowd with a simple or nonexistent mask, though those people are few and far between, because like Gatsby I envisioned an illusion when I first moved to ——-. My experience in the last place I lived was not pleasant, and I hoped —— would be better. My illusion protected me for a while, but slowly but surely I pulled the mask from my face as I began to trust the people around me. There are some pieces that never came off, but I thank all of you that I have never had much need to cover my face again.