I have these masks I put on every day, which mask I decide to put on each day depends on the occasion. Who will be there also plays a large factor in who I decide to be that day.
When I am with my family, I put on the “fake happiness” mask that makes it seem like everything is okay; I try to hide away beneath that mask in effort to keep my problems and pain out of view. Sometimes they catch a glimpse of what I hide. Sometimes the mask isn’t strong enough to hide what is inside as it slips out-of-place, desperately trying to hold back all that is pushing through. In those moments that mask becomes weak, I fasten on another in hopes two masks might be strong enough. So I reach for another mask, this mask is not one I am fond of, but rather I loathe this mask. This mask is what I call my defensive mask; it repels probing questions with a bitter attitude. When they ask if I am okay, this mask urges me to lash out with a harsh “I’m fine!” This mask doesn’t want anyone to know what is going on inside. Out of fear, this mask takes defense against all who try to see through it. This mask pushes everyone away. This mask causes my family to be afraid of me. This mask destroys.
When I am around people I don’t know very well, I put on yet another different mask. This mask is a strange mask in particular, and it is also one which I find is very difficult to rid myself of. This mask causes me to fade into the background. It makes me seem invisible to most, very few people notice my presence when I wear this mask. I have tried to get rid of this one to no avail. I put on this mask because I am afraid people won’t like the real me, that they might hurt me because of who I am. Rather than risking being hurt for the real me, this mask enables me to blend into my surroundings. Maybe this way people won’t hurt me as much, even though by wearing this mask I am doing more damage to myself than good. I thought by wearing this mask I would be safe, but it has only led to even more fear and has made it increasingly difficult to leave this mask behind. I am afraid I have grown accustomed to wearing this mask, and that frightens me.
When I am with friends, I try to take off my masks. Some days are harder than others to leave the masks behind, and I am often filled with the fear of losing these friends if I let them see the real me. I am afraid if they saw me without my masks, they would leave me. I find it hard to believe that they would ever do something like that, but the slightest chance they could do so still instills fear into my mind. I am afraid I am not strong enough to handle being hurt to the degree this would hurt me.
The only time I truly take off all of my masks is when I am alone. I am not afraid to be without a mask when there is no one there to hurt me for not wearing one. I am free to be who I am inside, blasting music and singing along to every song I know at the top of my lungs. I am free to just be me, and it is during these times when I think of all the fun I could have if I could leave my masks behind forever. I think of how amazing it might be to let someone truly know me. One day I hope to shatter these masks and leave the broken pieces of them behind forever.
It is more difficult than I thought it might be to leave these masks behind, but the harder I try to break free from their powers, the reality of one day being mask-free seems more realistic than before. The more I see how wonderful it is to leave them behind, I become less afraid. Less afraid of letting them see me, less afraid of the possibility of being hurt.
So behind the masks is the real me. I am loud, crazy, and quite random to say the least. I am curious about much, and I overthink and analyze everything. I love to sing even though I am a terrible singer. I even will perform some opera, and every now and then I will burst into songs singing in my best “man-voice”. I find the simplest things are often the most significant, and I love to be with the people I trust and care for. I will tell you anything about me if you ask, so long as you promise not to tell it to the world. I love the people God has blessed my life with, and I would give my life to save theirs. I love to talk and love to listen, just as long as I know you want to hear what I have to say. I love to be happy and I love to laugh. I love to have fun and be stupidly crazy, and I love it when people are that way with me. One day I hope you will see the girl who is trying to escape from behind the masks.