Stop Hiding Behind a Mask
Updated: Sep 12, 2019
Sometimes it's not the people who change, it's the mask that falls off - Haruki Murakami
So often we hide behind a mask and put filters on our pictures before posting them on social media. I can totally relate with hiding behind a mask. Most of my life, I’ve lived in hiding. I was told at a young age, “before you go out in public you need to make sure you’re looking nice, face is done, hair is tight, and you look your best. Don’t let anyone see you looking a hot mess”. But what if that is exactly how I felt that day, a hot mess? “No, no, no, the world can’t see that”. They have to see a well put together me, even though that’s not how I felt inside. One of my favorite movies is “Nappily Every After” starring Sanaa Lathan. It’s a Netflix move and if you haven’t watched it please do. There's a little of my story in this movie.
I have been married twice. Were my marriages perfect? Not by any means! We had our issues, some small and some major. But I had to hide under the mask that I had a happy relationship and marriage. I smiled at social functions and even at family gatherings, yet I was crying inside. I hid under this mask for so long that I started believing that everything was perfect. Judging those that didn’t have a marriage as good as mine. Telling everyone how great my husband was and that he would NEVER do…
When the people saw me, I had it all together or at least that’s what I showed them and said to them. I could be shaking your hand telling you how great I’ve been doing, while in my head, in my heart, and behind that mask, I’m SCREAMING in pain “I wish you could really see me”. But, would they like me, would they feel sorry for me, or would they have sincere sympathy and compassion for me? Well, I wouldn’t have the answers to those questions until I let people see me, the real me, the vulnerable me, the hot mess me.
And one day, I did. I was at an empowering, uplifting coaching workshop and over lunch I was sharing my story with someone. As I’m sharing, all of a sudden, I took a deep breath, and everything just started pouring out. I started sharing about my struggles to be perfect and about my not-so-perfect marriages. It was like a bomb went off in my brain and it came out of my mouth. Then, there was a pause and I wasn’t expecting the response that I received. She said, “Oh my goodness! I’m so glad you said that because I’m going through some things in my marriage right now and it’s not perfect but I’ve been afraid to say it”. She then said, “I knew we were brought together for a reason”. She and I had a long talk and after a lot of tears later, my mask slowly started sliding off.
What are you hiding behind? What’s your truth that you aren’t letting the world or those closest to you see? Let’s start small. I would like to ask that you think of something that has been burdening you down. Take a deep breath and hold it. As you exhale, shout it out, say that “something”. Say it into the mirror. Say it to yourself. OUT LOUD! How did that feel? So, when you’re ready (then and only then), tell someone close to you. The response might surprise you.