This piece, originally called “Masks”, was posted on the Hasty Words website in June 2016 as a part of her amazing #BeReal series. Thank you very much Hasty for this opportunity. You can check Hasty out on her website, TwitterFacebook, Instagram, and her new website Fearing Crazy


#BeReal – Peter M. Olsen

We all wear masks.

Some are subtle. Some are hidden.

Mine couldn’t be more obvious.
Long hair, 20 pounds overweight, scruffy beard.
The mask I wear is made from self-hatred and depression and scars.

My mask tells me that I am ugly…So very fucking ugly.
My mask helps me to feel numb…I feel so very fucking numb.
My mask says to other people I meet that I’m un-loveable, invisible, and so very alone.

So sad to say I like it.
I’m comfortable behind my mask.
This poor, ugly, lonely mask of woe.
It conveniently hides the true me.

My self-esteem. My self-confidence. My self-worth.

I reach out to it and it’s not there.
Like sand slipping through my fingertips.
It escapes and runs away.
Runs away and hides.
“Come find me” it beckons.

No one’s here right now.
Leave your name and number after the beep.
And Peter will return your call as soon as he takes off his fucking mask.

I hide behind my mask.
Hiding my true self behind this mask.
Hiding from all of you.

Can’t you see me?
Can’t you see me behind my mask?
Can’t you see any part of the real me behind my mask?


Is anyone there?
Does anyone fucking care?
Can anyone help me?


We all wear masks.
Please fucking help me take off this mask.


Photo credit Igor Ovsyannykov via Unsplash

4 thoughts on “#BeReal – PETER M. OLSEN

Add yours

  1. This fucking raw as hell & fucking heartbreakingly beautiful sadness that grabbed you by your heart & indebted your soul . Every word found its place & forever changes me. Damn. That’s breve it’s more than brave I’m so astounded I lost the ability to look for a word better than brave so describe it. Brave isn’t enough. What you did was out of control! Thanks for writing! I’ve been scared to write mine for #BeReal but you made me decide to get to writing already . I had a strange sort of writers block but you changed that. Thank you .

    1. Thank you Shareen! Your words truly honor me! I’m really blown away with your generosity. Thank you…I’m totally stoked you like it. And don’t be scared, yo. Use your voice! I totally look forward to reading it when you complete it!

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