The carnival in my town is over, hooray!
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like fun and frolics. But if you have four cats that are scared of the constant noise, a child who paints her face every single day and a husband who insists on wearing a ridiculous wig, you would also hardly wait for this bacchanalia to end.
And so now is the time to remove our masks and begin with a more spiritual and serene season of Lent.
But, do we really take off our masks? Or the masks we’re wearing are not just simple make-up and wigs?
Being true to yourself and telling your truth to others is not always easy. We all want to be loved and many of us are living with the fear of rejection, failure and poverty. So we put on our masks and transform ourselves into somebody else because we think this is the only way to get what we want from life.
In Zelig, an excellent film by Woody Allen, Leonard Zelig want to belong to society and be loved so much that he takes on the characteristics of people around him. At a baseball game he turns into a baseball player, in the company of Chinese he turns into Chinese, Indians into an Indian etc. He is called “the human chameleon”. Of course, such transformations are not possible, but you understand the point?
In his another film, Another woman, in a scene dripping with symbolism, the main character Marion kisses her husband while wearing a mask on her face.
Or, if you prefer more light-hearted films, Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride likes her eggs cooked to fit the man she is in relationship with. Until Richard Gere saves her (for the second time in her career).
And so we go through life, wearing various masks, adjusted to every occasion or person.
By this I don’t mean many roles we have in life. Every woman can be a wife, mother, lover, friend, business woman, daughter-in-law, sister….In each of these roles of course we behave a bit differently. As long as we know who we are, actually, and what are our basic values, that is completely acceptable.
I’m also not referring to people who are deceitful on purpose and lie to us out of some immoral motive. On the longterm, this is naturally not good – always remember: “As you sow so shall you reap”. But those people put on their masks and play some role, aware that they are doing it and why.
The problem arises when we have many masks the we ourselves cannot answer the question: “Who am I?”. When we are pretending for so long that we don’t even know that it’s acting. When even the closest people in our lives don’t know our true face.
Taking off all of the masks and show the world your true self can be very intimidating and unpleasant. What will my friends say when I tell them the truth how I really feel? What will my colleagues and boss say when I share my true opinion? In general, how will the world react when I expose myself and start telling my truth?
As everything in life, you should take baby steps. The most important thing is to get to know yourself. When you take off your mask in front of yourself and face the person who staring back, I am certain you won’t be disappointed.
That’s the first step.
After that, learn to love yourself.
When you learn to love yourself and show consideration for all of your little faults and imperfections, other people will love you, too. And those who won’t…well, not everybody has to like you, right? I guess that you also don’t like every single person you met. Only people who support you, deserve you.
When you finally understand what your beliefs are (not those of your friends, colleagues, neighbours or even your family, but only yours), start expressing them.
But remember the famous Max Hermann’s poem Desiderata: “Speak your truth quietly and clearly”. There is no need for any kind of conflict if you want to tell your truth – just say it calmly, but firmly. Those who belong in your life will hear and understand it, and as for others…well, you should’t care. You will see, the more you are sure of Yourself, you will meet less and less people who are not vibrating in the same phase as you are.
So, bravely remove your life masks!
And during the carnival put it on, just for the fun of it, knowing that the best thing in the world to be is You.
© 2016 Vlatka Mileusnic All Rights Reserved