I've been thinking a lot about how honestly I present myself. None of us are 100% real, 100% of the time. And that is certainly true of me.
Masks can be fun. They can even be liberating -- watch any film with a Masquerade scene and you'll see people feeling freed by anonymity. They are allowed to be themselves. Well, sometimes, at least.
And wouldn't it be nice to have a mask that looked like our most beautiful self (like my mother's wigs in the 1970's -- they looked exactly like her own hair but on it's best day). I'd love you to think that I wake up looking fresh and rested and beautiful. Sooo not true. And unfortunately, no mask. But that's what makeup is for right?
But what about the other masks. The more subtle masks -- the ones that I use to define who I am. The mom mask. The friend mask. The wife mask. The student mask. The employee mask. Etc., etc., etc.
They are the masks that I put on to play the roles of my life. Somedays the mask accurately reflects my persona and somedays it does not. Yet the mask is firmly put in place in each arena.
But what about bigger ways that I hide who I am? When I smile when I feel like crying. When I giggle at a slight pretending to be a joke even when I know it's a slight. When I swallow my words in the face of a family member who is completely obliterating everything I believe in during a political rant. These are masks that I wear. And these are the masks that I am sometimes imprisoned by.
We all wear masks at times but I think that it is those last masks, the total denial of how I feel (and therefore who I am) that slowly chill the soul and kill the passion. But these are the hardest masks to let go of -- they are protective masks even while they are destructive. Yet I don't think that I can fully be the person I could be, should be without at least addressing these.
It's not that I expect to run around with all emotions blazing at all times -- not sure that I would stay asylum free doing that. But I don't want to live a life in a mask. At least, not always.
Do you wear masks? Do you feel limited or liberated by them?