Tag Archives: journey

Life Lessons

Maintaining the Mask

We have all fears. We all have masks that sometimes we work ridiculously hard trying to maintain. The amount of effort maintaining those masks keeps you from focusing your energies and passions on the real you and meaningful things. A little over 10 years ago I made the decision to remove my mask and experience getting to know and love me.

Once I removed the mask I experienced a spiritual and life awakening. It was likely anything I had ever know. For years, I had been told things about me. They weren’t true, but I began to believe them and I lost sight of who I really was. Because I was so disconnected, I didn’t see a choice and spent tremendous amount of energy pretending to be someone else. I was brainwashed, lost and just drifting. I nearly died not just because of the drain but because I was being controlled by someone who was playing master puppeteer with me.

The mask wasn’t just about control. It was easier in my eyes and a better solution to continue pretending who I was. I didn’t know, love or trust myself. I had convinced that the fear outweighed the risk of uncovering who I was underneath that faux self. Maintaining the mask is an exhausting task. You have worry a lot and exert energy to keep up appearances.  I didn’t really see the amount of energy (wasting) I was exerting to just keep up appearances. The use of energy seemed worth the risk when I was living it. And now free from the tyranny of the mask, I can’t imagine even really being that person. It was a completely separate life. There’s freedom and confidence in being your true self. It means that you can accomplish anything.

There’s this funny thing about fear. It’s what really holds us back in life. Our mask is our protection from fear. It’s really a protection from life and experiencing ourselves. We’re scared of getting to know that person while also being torn because we want nothing more than to secretly be that person. We’re fearful of disappointing friends, loved ones, ourselves, and of losing our good reputation. We might be fearful of losing physical things, money or our home. By removing that fear and following what we know about us, we are able to experience something, learn and grow. I believe all these experiences are preparing me for the next adventure, whatever it may be.

I don’t want to get all mushy about karma because I’ve worked hard improving myself, learning and growing. My life journey has been a lot of work. However, I am of the mind that if your mind, heart and life are open to possibilities, things seem to fall into place because you are open and willing to create and also seize these opportunities.

I say this as someone is who is a domestic abuse survivor. I married young and went to college. I achieved more things than my parents. At age 22 I was a homeowner, college graduate and had a great job. To those from the outside I looked as though I had a wonderful life. It’s what I thought I wanted, but I felt suffocated and helpless until at age 27 I finally listened to myself and realized that this abusive and controlled person was not bringing me happiness. My life was not perfect as I portrayed. The abuse just as much as the mask was slowly killing me.

When I made that leap of faith and left him, I was scared and felt extremely alone. I also felt liberated and for the first time in a very long time because I spent time getting to know the real me.

The learning that I experienced felt like a spiritual one. I accepted myself and for a change trusted me. It was a glorious moment. I took control, and it has led me down a path to a life that I never imagined it could be.

At present, I can feel I’m walking down a path that is focused on growth. Change is afoot. I can feel it in everything I do including my bones. I’m shedding a new layer of my mask which is the one I have been hiding behind for the last 8 years and that is my weight. I know I won’t ever be a skinny size 6. For me the size doesn’t matter. It’s the journey that’s important and focusing on continued learning and listening to myself. There’s more at stake in my life than ever before. I need to set a good example and live a mask free life for my daughter who through my actions I’m showing her it’s okay to hide behind masks and maintain them instead of listening to yourself and showing the world the person you are completely.

 

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