Halloween is next month. The decorations, costumes and candy in the stores have told me so. The children are considering who they will be. Each year they select a cartoon character, super hero or movie star, don a mask and become transformed.
I too, used to wear masks. It was something I selected every day, Halloween or not. I had been culturalized (is there such a word?) to wear the appropriate mask for the appropriate occasion. After all who would wear a swimsuit to church or a ball gown to the grocery store? I knew what was acceptable and what was not.
The masks I wore covered up my true self so feelings like anger, hurt, sorrow, or disappointment were never viewed. Only the “happy” emotions were displayed. These masks provided useful cover as I never knew what the day would bring – just to be prepared, you understand. I needed some protection, after all people can be challenging.
In seeking a more authentic self I have begun to purge these masks. To my surprise as I discarded one there has been another. It was though they multiplied in the drawer in order not to uncover the authentic me.
It has been risky business to part with what has become so familiar. I was unsure whether the empty drawer would reveal someone I liked or others would accept. I no longer need to pick up a mask that says I love to cook, or select another that implies I am fine, all the time, or a third that states I could never write. Out the window these false selves have gone, replaced by the freedom of expressed feelings – good or bad.
My fear has been that in revealing my authentic self I might not fit the norm. I might appear a bit quirky or odd. Would others accept this real me? But I have discovered I no longer need to be the person who does the right thing. I desire to be the person who does the God thing no matter how different it appears. I have become free to be uncommon, instead of status quo.
I no longer require masks to determine my character, but instead dare to proclaim my true identity, the one that God created and I have been afraid to unveil. I might have to admit to pain, disappointment, bitterness, etc., feelings that are often not considered becoming to a fruitful Christian. But emotions whether positive or negative are part of who I am. And at last I will be the God-given real deal.