Here is a blog I wrote for Polish: Refining the Details, a summary of my presentation on living a Masquerade…
Growing up I always loved Halloween, I loved scary movies, haunted houses, trick or treating and especially dressing up. I would agonize over my costume every year wanting to have a great one. I still love Halloween and dressing up to go to a costume or masquerade party. There is something very liberating about hiding your true self & pretending to be someone else, rather than who you or who others believe you “should be”.
One mask-maker in California, Carla Almanza-de Quant says “Once you put on a mask you’re cheerful, you’re playful, you’re a more wonderful you,” she says “You become a fantasy character and you interact with others in a more outgoing way.”
What does that look like on a daily basis? What’s the mask or masks you wear when you are hiding your true self from others?
• The perfect one? You have it all together all the time and excel at everything life throws you b/c if you don’t people will see you for the failure and fraud you really are.
• The class clown? You always have a smile on your face, you’re quick to laugh and joke with everyone because if you stop you’ll curl up and cry and it’ll never stop.
• The chill one? You go with flow, whatever happens, happens man. You never give an opinion or assert your will because if you do you’ll end up alone.
• The Fashonista?You have all the latest and greatest fashions, you dress yourself meticulously because if you have on a great outfit and the best shoes you can hide the body you hate from the rest of the world.
Something else entirely?
I want to clarify that it’s not wrong to have it together and do things well. It’s not wrong to laugh or joke around. Nor is it wrong to go with the flow or have a great sense of style. The difference is the motivation behind why we look or act the way that we do.
When we wear the mask, it’s because we want to hide or protect something.
We don’t like who we are or what we see in the mirror; we’re afraid that if we take off our mask and reveal our true selves we’ll be rejected. When you fear you are not enough, you will dress up and cover up, you will make yourself into what you think is good enough.
When you are hiding your true self behind a mask the people around you never have a chance to know you!
So, what do we do if we realize we’re wearing a mask?
First – Stop with the HATE TALK!!! No seriously, stop it!
We need to recognize and celebrate our strengths as well as admit and accept our limitations. Our limitations are not a result of us not working hard enough or being good enough. Strengths & limitations are both, God-given and have a purpose.
You may be saying “yeah but I should be better” but the fact remains we are God’s creation and He says His creation is good. By wearing a mask, we are saying we know better than God, He got it wrong when he made me. By accepting the idea that our strengths and limitations are God-given and have purpose, we can take off the mask and freely be who God created us to be!
Take Action – Write out this belief and post it where you’ll see it daily “God created me with unique strengths and limitations & both have a purpose!”
Second – Practice vulnerability. Take off your mask and share what’s really going on inside with someone close to you. By being vulnerable you are no longer allowing fear to rule your life. Brene Brown, a leading researcher on shame and vulnerability, describes it this way “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
Take Action – This week make a list of 2-3 strengths and 2-3 limitations and share it with one safe person in your life.
The masks we wear help us hide ourselves from the world because we believe that the mask is a better version of ourselves. But, we are already who we were created by God to be! And He says His works are good. Who are we to argue with that?! #takeoffthemask