“Well, we all have a face that we hide away forever-And we take them out and show ourselves when everyone has gone.”- Billy Joel, The Stranger
It’s October. The official fall month. Apple picking, hay rides, falling leaves in crimsons and golds, and Halloween. All Hallows Eve, originating with some Gaelic roots in Samhain: a festival marking the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter- the darker half of the year. This festival was seen as a transitional time, when the boundaries between this world and the world of spirits were blurred. Costumes were worn to disguise oneself from spirits and ‘fairies’ and hence it has carried on to the traditions of today’s trick or treater’s. But enough history. We don’t need Halloween as an excuse to wear masks. Most people do it every day.
We put on the face we want people to see, or dress ourselves to be seen in the world as business people, yoga people, stay-at-home moms, or the uptown mall rat socialite. Our masks come in many forms. Even if you consider yourself a genuine, down-to-earth person, you may still be covering up an essential layer of your “self” before heading out the door each day. Is that OK? Probably not, but it’s human nature. But is that face you wear the person you really are? Is it who you want to be?
We waste tons of energy holding our social façades. Energy that could be used for things that really matter to you. It may very well be time to put your real self ahead of who you think you need to be. We are all unique, and that’s what makes the world so special.
I used to be a teacher. I was a good teacher, the kind that spends the entire night dressing up the classroom to match the Rainforest Unit beginning the next day. I played tic tac toe bingo for math using Hershey kisses. My kids loved me, and I loved them. I also loved the perks-by 3pm I was done, I had nights, weekends and summers free – how superb! BUT, what I didn’t admit to most people was that I hated what I had to do daily. It wasn’t until I found myself without the job that I could really take a good look at the mask I was wearing. I decided to work in the family print shop and figure it out later. But I needed to tell the truth to myself, and everyone else, so I could reinvent myself to have my dream career and to get results.
Honestly, this was a frightening 6-month long process where I beat myself up daily. I knew in my heart that I am a writer, a dreamer and I love to help people. So, what does that mean? What would I do? I kept the mask on in public until I began this blog. It stayed on, slightly skewed until I was published, and now, as I take the reins and pursue a career in life coaching and writing, I can take it off. Here I am world! Not new and improved, but the me I have hidden away from you all. Not that there isn’t another layer of me, but that will be for another post, another time.
And yes, I do harbor dreams of writing a book. There’s a poetry anthology in my future, but that going to get me anywhere, right now. But I am working on it. I am connecting, being sought for submissions, and hopefully, one of them will pay or at least send me in the right direction. I took off my mask, scary as it is, and opportunities are slowly making their way to me. I am making a new life; one I am truly beginning to enjoy.
If this inspires you to think about your masks, ponder the following:
(and yes, I’m practicing my new skills on you)
- What would I try right now if I knew I would not fail?
- What part of me or my life would I be relieved to let go?
- What truth is hiding just behind my lips that I need to allow myself to say?
Now, take the risk. Take off your mask. I can see through it anyway.
So with Halloween approaching, let your true self shine from behind the mask, and enjoy all the candy corn and chocolate. Celebrate the end of harvesting your “self.”
Stay motivated and caffeinated!😉☕