No Disguises


My brother and I, lion and clown

When I was a child I used to love Halloween, simply because I could dress up as someone else. My mother was always so creative with her costume making. Whatever we wanted to be, she would find a way to make it happen. The transformation was always exciting: one minute I was my plain-jane self and the next I was transformed into a Mermaid, or Medusa, or a Hippie, or a Ham Sandwich (I wish I still had pictures of that one… it was a riot!)

There’s a certain confidence that comes with wearing a mask. It frees us from the ’embarrassment’ of being our true shy selves, and allows us to settle into another character’s shoes for a little while. And being a self-conscious, unpopular kid, I quickly discovered how wonderfully freeing this could be.

As I grew older, I enjoyed taking drama, speech, and musical theater classes in school. I became a member of the drama club, as well as the Thesbian Society. I learned to dance and sing my heart out, all from behind the safety of a character’s mask. And even after graduation, I continued to apply the lesson I had reinforced as a child: that I could be brave and confident as someone else. With a mask, I could easily make friends. Become the socialite of the party. Make a fool of myself on purpose, and laugh at myself- something I would have been mortified about otherwise. And although the mask was no longer a physical one, I found comfort through inhabiting any persona I wanted to be at any given moment. It became my security blanket, so to speak. Letting those few I loved and trusted through my guard, and keeping the rest at a safe distance. Showing them what I wanted them to see, different masks for different people. Becoming whom I thought they would like best.

And though it worked for a while, I still always felt alone. In friendships, in relationships, it didn’t matter who I was with because I felt alone regardless. All the time. My life was miserable, and nobody could understand why. Not even me. You see, I had fallen victim to my own masks. I no longer knew who I was.

Just Me

A few years ago, I made the decision to discover the real me. Not that I was missing, but that I had to take off the masks I’d worn for so long… some were easier than others to discard. Some (especially lately) I’ve had to really chisel away at. The process has been painful, and every layer reveals something new I have to confront. Raising more questions than answers. But I can breathe a bit easier now. My shoulders don’t feel as tight as they once did. And there is light in my life, moreso than before. A hope for better days to come.

I still do love a good costume party, but no longer for the same reason. At the end of the day, that costume comes off. And all that’s left, is Me.

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15 Responses to No Disguises

  1. suzicate says:

    I think many of us are born “pleasers” and we wear whatever mask needed to please whoever we are entertaining. We finally reach an age of wisdom when we want to seek authenticity. It’s funny how a mask gave us the same freedom that authenticity gives us once we accept it. Be the beautiful soul you are!

  2. souldipper says:

    Welcome to the courageous place of accepting who you are – the beauty, the foibles, the wonky perceptions and the deep wisdom. It’s all the Christina we love getting to know!

    • souldipper says:

      Oops – that’s not saying you have wonky perceptions. I don’t know if you do! That list is a generic one, Christina, that usually fits humanity. 😀

  3. Sarahi Yajaira says:

    love, love, love this. thank you for sharing.

  4. This is a very deep subject, the masks we wear. Lots of food for thought here 🙂

  5. Jo Bryant says:

    This was a great post. You looked so cute – and still do BTW. LOL 🙂

  6. I can relate to this a lot, I’ve gone through exactly the same and it’s only in recent years when I learned to accept certain things. I agree with ‘watching seasons’ reply and it is a very deep subject. What do you prefer; to be wearing a mask or to be yourself? I think most people would say both and most people would wear the masks more than show their true colours….. just my opinion.

  7. So interesting, I feel now like the mask or even certain circumstances shakes awake something inside of me that rises to the forefront to address a situation. It’s almost like when I stopped putting the masks on, or took the masks off the surface of me, suddenly things started to rise with more audacity from Within me… and to show themselves on the outside. And because I Know in my heart of hearts that this came from inside, it brings up my fierce desire to Love it for what it is. All I know truly about you, Christina, is that you Deserve Love. and that Love itself wants to surround you every moment of every day, and does. You are doing so splendidly in your most important relationship with yourself, in your One Wild and Precious Life! Great post, it got my wheels turning!
    ps. your picture is beautiful!

  8. Evie says:

    Ah, facades. Whether it’s a persona worn to please a certain group, an outright lie to hide our guilt, or a loud display to distract the crowd (that’s me, flaunting a few strong traits to pull everyone’s eyes from any sign of vulnerability), we’re all guilty of being less-than-upfront sometimes. It’s hard to be open and honest all the time, and sometimes our culture makes disguises a hell of a lot easier. But it’s hurtful. Especially when we’re dishonest with ourselves and our closest loved ones. Glad you’re learning and growing, and getting comfortable in your own skin.

  9. I think “just me” sounds like an amazingly aware person. I have worn, and continue to wear, the occasional mask so I can be who I am expected to be. Like you, I wear them less, they fit less comfortably, and my time without them is become more enjoyable. Great post!

  10. The process of chiseling away false layers of self, in order to discover and refine our true inner-self (our divine essence) is a process that all those who take up the spiritual path must endure. While stripping away the false layers may be painful, it is necessary work, because as you so beautifully put, it allows you to remove your masks, breath easier, and enjoy being “just you”.

    As always, thank you for sharing.

  11. Pingback: Who am I? Take off the Masks and Find Out « Living In The Now

  12. hazel harker says:

    Excellent post (and adorable picture, by the way). I, too, am striving to live more authentically, to don the masks less and less, or when I do have to wear them, to let my true inner me peek through. Not so easy. And I won’t be able to completely attain my goal until I come out of the ‘broom closet’ to my family and close friends. Hmm. The day will come, though, and it will be liberating…

  13. Samanthamj says:

    I can so relate to this…

    Thanks for sharing. =)

  14. russtowne says:

    “And all that’s left, is Me.” Fortunately, that’s the part where your heart is! Thank you for sharing this glimpse of your spirit with the world and me.

    Russ

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