There once was a girl, named Sarah, who lived in a big country. That land was similar to the land of the Heart Hunteres, but there was one difference: everyone wore masks.
Sarah wore them too. She could choose from over a 100 different masks. Every day she would get out of bed in time before school to pick the mask for the day.
All them asks were always happy. There were different kind of masks though. There were masks that were a little bit happy, normal happy and enormously happy. Within each category you had all kinds of variation.
Sarah’s favourite mask was the one with twinkling eyes and a mouth opened wide in a huge smile. Especially on days she felt less happy, she put on this mask. How can anyone with a smile that big, not be happy?!
One day, a day like any other day, Sarah heard someone knock on the door of her house. She opened the door and saw a girl standing there. The girl was probably only a few years older than she was. The girl introduced herself: ‘Hello Sarah, my name is Abigail. I am from the Land of Hearts and I have travelled a long way to reach this place.’
Well, that is awesome! Sarah thought to herself: ‘You must be hungry!’, she said and she invited Abigail to join for dinner.
Luckily, her parent had a spare room in which Abigail could sleep. And every day, after school, Sarah would look Abigail up. Then they would chat around and do fun things together. In time, they became best friends.
One day, Abigail said: ‘Dear friend, may I ask you something?’ . Sarah raised her shoulders and said that Abby could ask her anything. ‘Why do you always look so happy?’. Surprised, Sarah said: ‘Do you not know that I am wearing a mask? Everyone here wears them. I mean, I live in the “Land of Masks”!’.
Now it was Abby who was surprised and she said: ‘ And what if you feel sad or angry?’. Sarah answered: ‘With our happy masks on we are always happy. Do you not wear a mask then?’.
Abby told her she did not have any masks and had never actually worn one. She told her that in the Land of Hearts you could see immediately how a person felt. Sometimes the faces were sad or angry, but that was useful! That way you could see straightaway how a person really felt like on the inside.
Sarah thought to herself: I would like that, never having to pretend. She asked Abby: ‘Eh, uhm, well, that sounds special. But do you think that I could do that as well?’ . Abby answered: ‘Yes, of course! Why don’t you try it out for just one hour. And every day you will add one hour to it’.
And that was what she did. She started in her bedroom, where she felt safe the most. Eventually she dared to walk through her house, without a mask, too. At one point she even dared to not wear a mask outside the house and to school!
The people around her started to notice her. They asked her why. Especially when Sarah was not feeling happy, the people asked her how it was possible that she did not have a happy face just like everyone else. Sarah would answer: ‘It is good to be happy. To feel happy. In life, though, we all experience things that are not fun or happy. Things that can make you sad or angry.’
Then Sarah would tell them how nice it felt to be able to express those feelings too. For example, with her friend Abby. With her she could talk about her true feelings and she would never have to pretend.
Slowly, but surely, the people around her started to follow Sarah’s example. First her brother and parents. Later on, also the rest of her family. And over time her other good friends. Every day there were new people who laid down their masks.
Up until this day, Sarah travels through the land to help people take off their masks.
"So you may put down your mask, and show your true feelings”
~ ‘Sarah’ by Tabitha Buma – 27 Feb 2016