What face do you put on for others to see? Or maybe, it is what you allow; the art of wearing a mask. I call it an art because it truly is. It takes creativeness and energy. As each of us walk through daily life, we learn to normalize things; some good, some not so much. Experiences, interactions, joys, disappointments, betrayals, and so on, all dictate how each person presents themselves to the world. However, who we present ourselves to be on the exterior can be in complete contrast to the person who lives within.
Everyone has a past. Never met a person without one. Along with that come reminders of decisions made that if could be retracted, would be. But in truth, a person does the best they can do at the time. Maybe a life experience beyond a person’s control affected them in such a way it caused negative thought processes about their purpose in life. Possibly the environment in which a person is exposed alters the positive reinforcement of self-worth, clear decision making, acceptance of their individuality and such. Co-dependence traits can slowly evolve into less than desirable situations with relationships, often ones that due to other circumstances make it difficult to escape. It becomes easier to normalize what should not be and put on a mask to greet life.
It is easy for a mask to become the expected expression. This is not to be confused with the attitude of being positive because those that chose to see the “glass as half full”, like me, rather than “as half empty” is focused on blessings. In contrast, the attitude of choosing to be “a stick in the mud” is missing the true concept of what life is and does cause negativity to those in the same environment. Then there is the “generic” mask. I deem this one as a protective mechanism put in place to prevent others from causing hurt or disappointment; a guard established as a preventative of another “let down” that reinforces faith in people or opportunities taken are more destined to result in something less than sought after.
I will be the first to admit I don’t trust others easily. It is now my choice, but was not originally that way. It is the result of experiences. Yes, we are all human beings covered by the grace of God trying to live this life as pleasing to Him as our human nature will allow, so I will cut some slack there. My optimism is showing through. However, it does not extend to trust anymore. For instance, I learned at an early age what it meant to keep something in confidence. My motto is “if someone shares something with me in confidence, then that is where it will stay. If they want someone else to know the information, they can tell it themselves”. Something as simple as a broken confidence can dictate wearing a mask. Imagine the layers of masks we apply to ourselves as life progresses.
I will delve deeper. Relationships…..there is no perfect environment. Companionships are designed to be an enhancement of who you are as a person and not a redesign of yourself. Are you respected? Behaviors are often “normalized” that are contrary to what is healthy and therefore, affects happiness. If today was your last day, would you be content to walk out of this world with the choices you have made in your relationships or would you be heavy-hearted with the realization you cut yourself short; you settled for less; you compromised and normalized that which ultimately stole your individuality, your happiness, your self-worth, your life.
Change is not easy, especially if it is from within. Sometimes situations are so complex that a person just cannot “undo” circumstances, especially if it will cause negative effects to those that are by-standers or innocents. However, a person does have control and choices in their own actions and reactions, what they choose to accept or deny, and how they decide to embrace each day. Peeling away the multiple layers of masks is a place to start and expose the genuine substance of you.
On a personal note, every time I write and publish, I am peeling away a bit of my inner protective mechanism. The desire and passion to write eventually overrode the deep seeded “normal” to protect myself from being vulnerable. I suppose there will always be an air of mystery to my personality in what I allow the world to see, but I am embracing it one post at a time. After all, my journey is unique. The only thing I want to take with me when I go is the satisfaction I left behind a print of myself; the masked and the unmasked. It’s not about approval or recognition. It’s about following a passion within and allowing God to guide that passion. It’s a sense of letting go some of which has been guarded for so long….a time for everything.
I’ll see you on the flip side……….