“Good Morning”, the cordial greeting of the day. You put a smile on your face and you return the appropriate greeting and then comes the common follow-up question which is, “How are you?” While you are still smiling, you say good and you?
This is how the typical Monday morning goes. You put on your mask and life is all good again, but is it really?
Do your masks look anything like mine? Do you have a happy face that is well-worn and beginning to fall apart? Do you have the, as my husband says, the neither here nor there face? How about the grouchy face (which if I am being honest is rather worn out)? Do you have the worried face (which has been my go-to mask with all the sickness my family has been through) or how about the frustrated and the angry face? These are my masks I have to hang beside my keys which are ready to grab as soon as I get my keys to go out the door.
Which mask do you grab for the concealment of your everyday real emotions? As for me, I grab a happy face because I can not show others that everything is not ok. Only the people who are close to me know what my real face looks like. To everyone else, they only know the mask I wear.
I often think of the masks I wear every time I mow my lawn. It is important to me to keep my lawn mowed because if my yard is in order then it reflects a well-ordered life from the outsider’s perspective. What the average person driving past my house does not realize, is that if they came through my front door, they would quickly realize I am struggling to keep the chaos and disorder at bay. My house many days is a mess (as my husband often says, and so is everyone else’s, who cares, but he doesn’t understand that I care). I have dog hair (in clumps at the moment) all over the place. My bathroom is in dire need of cleaning. I struggle to keep up with the laundry and my floors need to be vacuumed and mopped. Overall, the house is in desperate need of some love, cleaning, and maintenance.
I know many are reading this thinking I thought we all struggled with this every day? For me personally, it is a struggle I wish I didn’t have. When I gave up my career years ago to come home to be a stay at home mom, I took my responsibility seriously and part of this responsibility was to keep our home and family happy, organized, and free of chaos.
Unfortunately, unhappiness, chaos, and disorder are how we seem to live now. Money is tight, so when something breaks, we can not usually afford to fix it (unless it is something that is serious, such as my car). I am sitting at the car repair shop just this morning, waiting for my car to be fixed as I write this.
Between all the doctor appointments, I am always on the road running between appointment after appointment. Then when we get home from them, it is back in the car to get Kiddo to work, then run errands and return home to decide which is more important, the housework or trying to start my craft and graphic design business to get it off the ground so we can make some extra money, that we are desperately in need of.
So with all of the personal revelation I have made and the rawness of my “real” life, now you know a little more about who I am, personally. The “superficial” me is about keeping up appearances. I grew up being taught we are to be responsible and keep our feelings to yourself. You do not allow anyone to know how bad life can be. You hide this because outsiders are to only see your “best” behavior. Now years later, I find myself struggling with the fallacy of how I was raised while keeping up with the appearance that says, I look responsible and organized. The problem with this is on the inside I struggle with who I am now. I struggle with what I consider to be important. I find I am struggling with trying to figure out who the “real” me is for all the masks I have worn for so many years.
How about you? Do you struggle with this same identity crises because of the years you have worn your masks? Have you finally broke free from the bondage of the masks or are you still hiding? How did you break free?
I think the time has come to remove the masks and let our true identity be visible and shine through. I am challenging you today to make a commitment with me to allow your “real” face to be seen by others.
Today is the day we unmask and set ourselves free from the bondage of false identities.