I have this relationship with Don Miguel Ruiz’s book that defies description. I can’t quite describe it as a love hate relationship because I never hate it. It is kind of like going to a psychological and spiritual gym. You go, you do the work, you feel good on so many levels, but there are some parts of the workout, which require you to work a little harder and dig a little deeper then others.
This is how I have felt about his section on social masks. My initial response was – I don’t wear any social masks. That is too simplistic of an answer. Ok, so what social masks do I wear and how do I know when I am wearing them. One of the clues he suggests is when you feel false, frustrated, or dishonest. When are we faking the funk and being what we think others want us to be and not who we really are?
So my social masks are. I am still grappling with this. I think the one mask that I sometimes put on myself is the serious, scholarly, reflective, deep person mask. I don’t seem to wear this mask as much as I used to, however, I am aware of times when I feel as if others have this mask they want me to put on for them. Somebody once said to me that they loved talking to me because I always make them feel so peaceful and it must be nice to be in that state all the time. The reality is that I am and I am not. I am at peace and then at the same time there are those moments when I become aware that others do not have the same agreements I do and I have to release my frustrations.
I think there are far less masks I wear today then there were. I have worked hard to evolve to a place where who I am in the classroom is who I am with my friends and who I am with strangers. My role might be different; however, I strive to be as authentically me with everyone I meet as I can at that moment.
Sometimes I am more aware of when I don’t have the masks on then when I do. For example, I remember having a few people over for dinner one night several months ago. it was the first time one of the guests had ever been around me socially and he was surprised that I enjoyed having a glass of wine on occasion and that I am not always serious and can be pretty funny at times. I have been told by others that I need to stop being so positive because nobody can be as positive and joyful as I am. it is not that I do not have things which happen in my life that are sad, however, I made an agreement with myself a long time ago I would no longer let anyone or anything steal that internal joy and peace. I acknowledge what I am going through, do what I can about it, and have faith that it is all going to work out as it is supposed to work out.
I think that in the past I wore these masks because I was afraid of what others would think of me. I was afraid people would not love me for I was. However, I think it was also because I was not sure I loved me for I was. So if I put this mask on then others could not get to me and see my “imperfections” and I did not have to deal with what I was calling my “imperfections.”
What I came to realize was that as I took the masks off, I came to love and appreciate the uniqueness of who I am and how like everyone else, I am this work in process. I am constantly growing and evolving and even in the time I have been sitting here thinking about being masked and maskless I have changed. I am never the same person twice, I am constantly evolving.
When I took the masks off, it gave me the freedom to grow and evolve. Wearing the masks was constraining and it almost reminded me of wearing a body shaper. It is not that it takes the weight off; it just redistributes it and reshapes it.
That is probably why I don’t wear anything like that. I stopped wearing make up for many of the same reasons. I didn’t feel as if I needed to wear something on my face to make me look beautiful. I am beautiful just as I am.
It just dawned on me that perhaps one of the ways I have taken my social masks off has been by posting my journal entries on my site. It was through my journaling that I began to get honest with myself. As I took the masks off personally, I also took them off socially and publicly because I have shared my journey, all of it, with others. I remember when I first started this I did not tell others I was writing it. I never announced my entries as I did the others. Yet it became one of the more popular areas on my website. The mask was off.
It was like getting naked with someone for the first time. There is that moment of anticipation followed by a wave of relief and release. So maybe it is through sharing my journey here, by getting naked with those who read my writings that I have been able to take off my masks and work to keep them off and let my little light shine
I had better go back to bed before I start singing this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Lol.