Posts Tagged ‘drop the masks’

I was rooting around in a stack of pictures one day and came across this gem.  I’m not sure how old I am in this picture but I’m certainly under 10.  It’s quite something being a child of the 1970s. The fashion, well, it speaks for itself.  Sure my mother came up with this creation and slammed me into it, so I can’t take responsibility for that, but what struck me is the pride with which I’m standing.  I laughed myself to tears when I first saw this, and my initial thought was, “THAT…is…ME!”  All clashing patterns and diva glasses and, “Who cares if you don’t like it?  I do!”

This post really isn’t about how cool looking I was as a kid.  It’s about the masks we pick up along the path of life that obscure the truth of who we are.

I’ve never really fit in.  I was the quiet kid (now adult) who preferred to stand by the sidelines and observe everything going on.  I was the one who refused to eat her creamed cauliflower in nursery school, nuns be damned, and had to sit alone in the lunch room in front of my plate of congealed mess while everyone else watched The Flintstones.  I enjoyed the company of animals over that of humans, and I still do.  I was the child who preferred to read.  I was shy, chubby, artistic and sensitive beyond words.  I was easy to pick on, to tease, to make the brunt of horrible jokes, especially since I cried at the drop of a hat.  Over time I began to see my uniqueness as a liability.  I didn’t want to hurt any more.  If standing out put me at risk of receiving negative attention, I didn’t want to stand out.  I picked up my first mask and put it on.  And then I picked up another, and another, and another.

I stopped crying and became hard and angry and guarded.  I walked away from my artistic side, choking the storyteller into silence, and worked at becoming an “A” student; I lost myself in my intellect.  In my heart, I separated myself from god, not understanding that there is a world of difference between god and religion.  I entered into relationships with men that were complete and utter failures, and then I did the same with women, each time working to morph into who I believed I “should” be or who my partner expected me to be.  I tried to fit into what I thought was an appropriate career and I did this repeatedly.  🙂  Many, many times.  But when I ventured too close to the corporate world or a cubicle, a rush of panic would strike and I would run.  I would quit the job I was in or I would tank it before I ever got there.  My therapist at the time would hear all sorts of laments about how I wanted to be like everyone else.  I wanted to want the 9 to 5 job with the pension and benefits.  I wanted to want the mutual funds and RSPs.  I wanted to want an interest in golf…And even as I sit here writing those things I literally feel nauseous.  Why?  Because nothing could be further away from who I am.

I am a 41 year old woman who lives in her childhood home with her mother, not because I need my Mommy to do my laundry but because, before I met my partner, I was too terrified to live on my own.  I still am. It just seems so lonely and isolating and ICK!  And I love this house with my very soul.  It is a part of me.  I make my living by working in an office, writing articles, teaching Yoga, offering Reiki, and cleaning house. I do this because one full time job, day in and day out at the same place doing the same thing with the same people, makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a pen.  My bathroom is blazing orange/red, my den is violet, my bedroom is yellow, and my hair has streaks of blue because brilliant colours make me happy.  I openly talk to the birds…and the trees…and flowers and bugs and animals.  Yes I do.  My partner is a woman who is, herself, a very unique individual with a brilliant and creative mind.  After 4 years we still don’t live together, something that is positively absurd in the same sex world.  And I cry. Oh how I cry.  I cry at TV shows.  I cry when my partner says something sweet.  I cry when I see an injured animal.  I find as many opportunities to cry as I can because I have to make up for many years of inauthenticity.

Living a life of masks isn’t a life; it is an endless expanse of lies and torment.  Who has the energy to feel vital and fulfilled when they’re so busy playing cover-up?  

I am that girl in the picture with a love of crazy patterns, things that (apparently) don’t go together, a crooked smile and silly sunglasses.  I will never do what I’m “supposed” to do…except when it comes to paying my taxes. It’s been a full circle experience for me moving from the truth of who I am, to living a life of masks, and returning to the off-centre person I have always been, masks or no.  And I quite like creamed cauliflower but it’s certainly not because someone told me I had to eat it.

So, who are you?  When you peel away the layers of  shoulds, musts and have tos, who is the person lying beneath it all, the person who has never left no matter how many masks have been piled on top?  I’d like to meet that person, the person with his/her own crazy patterns and funky sunglasses.  If we meet, do you dare show me who you truly are?  Will you drop the masks and simply be YOU?

YOU are worthy of love.  Be who you are.  The world needs you.

All my love,



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