It’s a symbol of a misguided sense of fear. A symbol of an overwhelming, neurotic need for safety, which has outstripped all other needs, including the most original of all needs—which is the need to be unsafe. Even more, the safety it purports is but a false safety. It is a safety of paper and cloth after all. It is a safety that hangs by a thread on one’s ears. It is a weak protection, like the door of a cottage in the Middle Ages. Fine enough for knocking and hiding from strangers, but foolish to hide behind from the mongrel horde. Or like the house of straw: An expedient shelter from raindrops and stiff breezes, but never from a real storm. To believe this frail thing will protect is naive of the first little pig, which is shameful enough. But it is also arrogant; which almost by definition is to be ignorant of deeper truths. Weakness is THE problem, yes; but not in the structure of the first little house. Rather, it is in the structure of the first little pig. In other words, lying to oneself about oneself—about what one believes, about who one is, about where one’s protection comes from—in essence, about reality itself— makes one as weak as a straw house (or a cloth mask). Weakness down at this internal, structural level is ugly even to little pigs, but more to the point, it is attractive to big, bad, wolves. It actually invites breathers of darkness and deadly fug to come over and come close—and it’s easy! A few huffs and puffs and down everything goes. The door, the straw, and the mask aren’t foolish. It is the one who believes a lie that is foolish.
One day the mask may symbolize something brave and strong and alive. But it doesn’t yet. Not for me. For me, it symbolizes weakness. For me, it’s hiding. For me, it's lying because I can't hide from danger anymore than the three little pigs—I can't hide from anything. It is impossible. However I can BE something. I can be brave and strong and alive the day the wolf arrives at my doorstep.
I can be ready. I can be a house of stone.