I had always hated masks.
I found one today while going through some items packed away in a dusty corner in storage. Upon opening the box that should have been marked “things I kept putting at the back of the attic so I didn’t have to deal with them” I pulled out the black mask and held it in my fingers. A project from a high school art class made so long ago I had forgotten it’s very existence.
And it still fit.
I placed it on my face and was reminded quickly of the scene from the man in the iron mask movie when Philippe puts the mask back on after being free of its cage for awhile. I quickly dropped it to my fingers once more in an effort to forget all it brought back with it.
I had always hated masks even though I had worn one for so long.
The girl that had molded this, she had secrets, as all masked beings do. Hidden behind the spitfire attitude and razor sharp wit was an eating disorder, a dark fear of food, a quest for perfection and a deep seeded terror of being seen, her feelings, her heart and her truth. It would spill into the next ten plus years and end with her realizing that a perfect body and face does not equal perfect love or life.
I wish I could reach her now.
Stretch back my hand through time and tell her it’s all bullshit.
You don’t need to be perfect; it’s a line of crap sold by the cosmetic companies, adverting campaigns and the porn industry.
It’s fake. It’s garbage. It’s there to keep you down and keep you chained.
I wish I could tell her that being rooted in your truth and authenticity was worth more than counting calories, perfect skin or what size her pants are.
That she should never settle, never hold back and never stay quiet.
I wish I could tell her that even when she did get those perfect abs and size 0 physique, she was still going to cry into her pillow sometimes at lost love, insensitive people and heartbreak.
That swallowing her feelings would be a heavier weight on her shoulders than all the ice cream on Earth could ever be.
I wish she could know that those who only measured her worth by her looks and size weren’t worth the false glances they were woven from.
That as long as she hid behind a mask she would bring those into her life that were hiding behind theirs; and it would cut her heart the deepest.
I wish I could tell her that even the prettiest mask wasn’t worth living behind.
That all the hiding in the world wouldn’t protect her from some things.
I wish I could tell her that to be open right down to the depths of your being without fear of being ridiculed was a right deserving of all beings and that she was on the path towards that. She just needed to hang in there a little longer.
It wasn’t an easy road, but a lifelong path. There were bumps, bruises and cracks but then there always was with expanding.
That measuring your inner strength is more important than measuring your size.
That no matter what she had value, her thoughts and feelings mattered, and that she deserved to touch the stars.
That no matter how small the minds, the hearts or the population around her that she was born worthy. That everyone is from somewhere and that your location doesn’t dictate how big your dreams can be.
I wondered if she would have even listened.
Of course I knew her, she never did. That was part of her spitfire charm.
She had to go it her way even if it wasn’t the easiest path.
We are all prisoners of masks at one point in our life or another.
They are something we all struggle with. Letting people in. Being who we are. Speaking our truth. Acknowledging our feelings. Letting people see. If we become accustomed to the masks we wear they grow into the skin they dig into.
The key is to not let them define who we are. We need to know that we can drop them whenever we want.
They don’t make us who we are. Not if we don’t want them to.
In any moment, in any breath we can choose the authentic and the conscious. It’s not easy, but in the end the truth is so much sweeter than any lie ever could be.
In hindsight, if I hadn’t walked that path I wouldn’t be where I am now.
If I had not worn the masks maybe I wouldn’t be so dedicated to tapping into truth, authenticity and presence now.
I believe everything happens for a reason even though sometimes the reason can be hard to see especially when you’re peering at it from behind a mask.
So to the girl I once was, I apologize for not being smarter.
But you wouldn’t be where you are without being where you’ve been. You were always on the right path, even though some parts seemed darker than others and the road was rocky beneath your feet. You were always doing it.
A message to the woman I will be in the future; look back fondly at the places you turned it all around and never hold regret in your soul.
I look forward to walking naked and open with you as your head is held high.
Honor your truth, your voice and your heart.
And always remember that you never need to wear a mask again.
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