At Peace. It was the perfect paint color. It was exactly how I felt inside. My mask had been pulled down. I could look myself in the mirror and for the first time in a long time, I saw me. It was powerful and dammit it felt good. With each stroke of the brush, the color truly touched me and was covering the white walls of my soul.
There are people who only knew me as someone’s wife, a boy’s mom, a woman’s daughter. But there were these special few who cut through those titles and knew I was not only those things but more.
singer, cook, dreamer, perfectionist, own worst critic, the secret writer
All things that had been swept under the rug for another day…
a day when I had time
a day when my responsibilities didn’t get in the way
a day when I wasn’t doing anything
slowly, over time, they had been locked so far inside that I wondered if I would ever have them again
i was losing myself
it wasn’t me
I had assumed a mask of who I thought I was supposed to be. I had conformed to what society said I should be doing. I had a family. The careless days of wonder were in the past. I was to be a responsible adult. Parent teacher conferences, basketball games on Saturday were the regimen. I would pour all my creative juices into being those things. There was only one problem with that…it wasn’t all of me. The mask I was wearing fit me but there was so much more behind it.
But what happened to the other things I loved? I was told once I didn’t have any hobbies. Maybe that was because all the things I loved to do were neatly packed away in a box on my closet shelf, because the things I loved to do were not viewed as worthwhile. Why would you ever want to paint, you aren’t good, you can’t draw. What do you think you will ever get out of writing? No one will ever read it so what’s the point? Sadly, I had begun to believe this and focused on the things that “mattered” in life and forgot about the passionate things that were part of living. It is hard to hide your true self. Your authentic self has trouble being tucked away. Eventually, there will come a day when it wants to be set free and live again.
One day, it took over me. I decided that I was going to find myself…again. So cliché. But, little by little I was going to open up a small wrapped present of the world that I loved and give it to myself. Each time the wrapping paper fell off to the floor, I felt a tiny bit of me unveiling.
Words on paper
Color on the walls
With the mask coming down and revealing our true selves can be scary. What if people don’t like this “me”? What if people don’t remember that this is really who I am? Is okay to reveal? Will they understand there is more to me than what they have seen? Can they possibly understand that you can be both? Find one person who knows your authentic self. A longtime friend, a coworker, a new acquaintance that makes you see yourself. It’s not always easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. But when you have people around you who believe in you, the real you, it is truly magical. It took a woman almost half my age to make me realize it’s okay to be me.
She is real without a doubt. She knows her “self” and is comfortable revealing it. She’s quirky, strange, brilliant, funny and beautiful…and I love her for all of it. It’s funny to think that 30 years ago when I looked into her eyes as a baby, that my niece would help me find myself. She has opened my eyes to new adventures. She has inspired me to be involved. Whether she realizes it or not, she has inspired me to be me. She has accepted me to be me.
I was once that kind of woman. I was invincible too. She takes on the world and sees how much it has to offer and wants to experience it all. Her spirit engulfs the adventure no matter what the adventure may be. She has inspired me to be that woman again. To show the world the mask I was born with and not hide my light.
So I challenge you. Take a look in the mirror and see if what you are seeing is reflecting the right image. Does your mask match your spirit? Does your light shine? If you can’t answer that question, ask someone who loves you. Someone who loves the real you.