If you’re like me, I have many masks in my closet. I have a professional mask, where people do not know I have a life outside of the office. I have a “mom” mask that I wear when dealing with my children. I have a private mask that I don when I don’t want to share things with others. And yes, I have the “teacher” mask I wear when in the classroom and one labeled “student” for when I take classes. I have a mask for hiding all the things in life that do not need shown at the particular time. We have masks for social events – several, ranging from ornate and glittery for high-society socials through a variety of “every-day” events. We even have an “I’m OK” mask that presents to the world our healthiness. We even have a “Happiness” mask for those occasions when we really aren’t happy but must keep up appearances. Sometimes, I wonder if we have more masks in our closet than the array of clothes we wear. It can get a bit scary.
After a while, as I look deep inside of myself as others do, I wonder if we use our masks so often that human beings might forget who is actually behind the mask. Like you, I have been in situations where the “real me” seems hidden for whatever reason at the time.
I remember one time not too long ago, I experienced a situation where I really was dumfounded by the particular comment and wanted to respond “Are you serious?”. However, it was neither the time or place to say this. I realized how quickly I donned my appropriate mask and met the situation in the appropriate way. In short, my feelings stayed hidden, even as I walked away from the situation so that it could not escalate.
Over time, I decided that I had too many masks. It was time to de-clutter my mask closet. I began to use less of my masks and allow myself to be known. I didn’t have to hide my talents or abilities. I learned how to begin appropriately expressing my thoughts and feelings. I began coping with my own situations and conditions. I allowed my real self to begin shining through. Sure, there are times when masks still are donned – That’s simply a part of life. However, they are used less frequently, and only when necessary. My closet is not packed any more. I’ve become more free to be me.