scared child hiding in dark

How To Be Vulnerable And Naked (“The Beautiful Mask”)

It happened on May 7, 2014. I will never forget the moment. Sitting there, at my kitchen table, staring at my laptop. My palms were sweaty, my heart was racing and my hands were shaking. Terrified to the core I did it.

One push of my index finger was all it took to change my life forever.

It is the date I released my first book to the world. A memoir.

I never felt so naked in all my life.

I had no idea what I was in for.

But I was tired of feeling invisible.

Do you feel invisible?

The desire to stop being invisible and become truly known meant I would have to tell my story.

That desire motivated me. Hours and hours of counseling, writing, editing, proofing, learning, applying and repeat. It took a grueling nineteen months and eight days to get from start to publish, but it took just an instant to cross the threshold into the light of utter exposure.

I was afraid judgment sat waiting for me.

Instead of judgment, I was introduced to a new me, caught wearing a beautiful mask.

A few years ago my husband and I attended a masquerade ball. I had never been to anything like that before. I’m a blue jean kind of girl so it was quite outside my comfort zone.

I donned the gown I had worn at my son’s wedding and placed a store bought mask on my face.

vulnerable masquerade mask

It was surprising how that tiny mask felt like a wall of protection.

But it was a lie.

That mask offered no protection. Only a portion of my face was covered.

My identity was not hidden nor did it make me powerful like some superhero.

No, the only power the mask held was to affect how I thought. How I perceived myself.

Which was precisely my problem.

The beautiful mask wasn’t the one on my face.

It was quite another thing.

I am reading four books right now. I’m not very far into them yet, but so far, I found three of them deal with the beautiful mask.

These three books, Farewell to Mars, Daring Greatly and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality challenge the status quo. That is where the beautiful mask lives. The books talk about our INNER lives.

They dare us to look inside, evaluate and grow.

Doing that changed my life.

That is what I write about. That is my passion. I believe every person should care about their INNER life and want to grow. Not everyone does. I think that is terribly sad.

Some think I’m a nut case. I don’t care anymore. I can thank The LOVE that Healed me for that.

What is this beautiful mask?

It is the projection of a false self. It is covering our authentic self with something we believe is wanted, expected or required. It is the theater attire worn to perform for the sake of others or ourselves.

Do you wear a beautiful mask?

I used to.

I wore it to project the good child I had been raised to be.

I learned how to take it off and you can too.

Before I took it off, I didn’t live a truly authentic life.

Not really.

It wasn’t that I was trying to live deceptively. It was that I was afraid.

I was afraid of so much.

And that day – May 7, 2014, was the epic center of that fear.

It felt like I stripped of all my clothing and ran naked around the world.

My greatest fear at the time was that someone would actually read my book and I would be publicly shamed and humiliated.

Quite the contrary happened.

People did read it, but they liked it, and it moved them. They laughed and they cried. So many people identified. I was shocked.

I thought about how I had tried so hard for so long to hide all my ugly parts. All my flaws.

In fear, I had donned the beautiful mask of what I was taught in regard to what others wanted to see or expected of me.

It became my identity.

I lost myself.

In my book, I wrote: I did not know the difference between who I was required to be and who I really was. Who I was, I did not see. All the mirrors were broken.

Since sharing my story I’ve had to learn who I am apart from that beautiful mask.

 

Sometimes I’m the mess. Sometimes I’m the broom.

On the hardest days, I have to be both.

Rudy Francisco

 

I have learned it is ok to not be ok.

I have learned people just want to see the real me.

And I’ve learned that if I want to be known and loved then I need to project my true self. Just me.

If I want to be known and loved then I need to project my true self. Just me. Click To Tweet

Vulnerable and genuine. Vulnerability still is hard for me. That is why I am reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.

I choose to be brave and never put on a beautiful mask in who I am again. I want to stand in the light and be seen as I am.

You can take off the beautiful mask.

Why?

Because the one who became vulnerable by donning a human body to demonstrate both the value and potential of mankind, The LOVE that Heals, accepts and loves us as we are and encourages us to grow.

Everyone has the opportunity to wear a mask to hide who they are in an effort to protect themselves.

However, people want to be known and then loved after they are known.

But we cannot be known and then loved if we continue to don the mask.

What do you choose?

Wear the mask that gives a perceived safety, but breeds loneliness

Or

Take off the mask, be vulnerable and naked with the perceived danger, but brings opportunity for true satisfying connection.

 

What do you choose? Share in the comments. Let’s encourage one another.

 

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8 thoughts on “How To Be Vulnerable And Naked (“The Beautiful Mask”)

  1. For years I had a “mask” on and never knew it. The last few years I made a decision that I was good enough and made the decision to live that truth. In a sense, I took my “mask” off, I find I have never been happier! I pray many get the revelation that they too are “good enough” and learn to live it. Beautifully written again my dear friend!

  2. Ugh, this is something I struggle with. I want to be authentic, but in the past, I have been BRUTAL in how I communicated my feelings. My husband and I are pretty different, and I remember being VERY frustrated early on in our marriage, when we would be frustrated with each other, and I’d see him laughing and talking to others as if nothing had happened. I felt it was really fake of him, especially when he’d bounce back to “angry” in his communication with me. Now I realize that he probably just didn’t want to burden people with “our issues” or make things awkward with other people… and he also probably figured it’s not really any of their business what issues we’re having (he’s always been a private person, which I never truly realized until after we were married).

    There also is a great fear – in light of my parenting mistakes – that in this age of judgmental, social media fueled rants, that people will misunderstand my heart if I open up completely. There are things I haven’t told anyone (rather than a VERY select few), and, thought I would like to be transparent and I feel it could be really freeing to write about, I also don’t want to deal with the backlash. If I haven’t told friends, how could I tell “the world?” I’m so tired of hearing people talk about certain parenting mistakes as if they would NEVER make that mistake… It’s born of pride and arrogance, and I’ve made so many mistakes, I just can’t sit on a high horse judging every other parent.

    Anyway, so I’m not sure how to reconcile my desire to be authentic with living in a world where a child can be in mortal danger and everyone’s mad at the mom for not seeing the kid slip away, because a gorilla got killed over it. I do love animals, don’t get me wrong, but human life will always be the top priority, as far as I’m concerned. 😛

  3. Thank you for sharing blessedout. I understand that fear so well. In fact I wrote about it right after the election. A post titled “What kind of person do you want to be”.

    I know for me the courage has come from becoming settled in who i am. It has been a long process and I am not finished yet. Yes this world can be so cruel and traumatizing. It is so important to have a safe haven for our souls (inner life). I am blessed with a very safe and loving husband. I know many don’t have that.

    But I know I would not be who I am or have any confidence at all if it were not for The LOVE that Heals aka The Pursuer who is my hero.

  4. I turn 40 on the 15th and I’m in the mist id a midlife crisis. One day I know exactly who I am and what I’m doing and the next day I have no idea. I’m not all depressed or anything about it, just waiting to make up my mind about it all. I’m hoping once the anticipation of 40 is over my brain will settle down. In the mean time I’m reading and reflecting and planning for next year so that if this fog of confusion doesn’t lift I’ll at least not have it effect my life too bad!

    1. Thank you for sharing Patty! I remember tripping over certain age milestones myself. More than one. I think we measure ourselves by some nebulous expectation – that fog of shoulda coulda woulda behind us muddying our future hopes or plans – a cloud of uncertainty. You’re doing such a good thing – reading and reflecting and planning and I believe it will pass as you gain a new insight and build your future in your heart. I’ll be praying for you. Keep us posted and Happy Birthday! Celebrate Yourself!! (I have a post titled that – go have a look and remind yourself how valuable you are!) http://www.daniellebernock.com/celebrate-yourself/

  5. I so love this movement I see of women being real, being authentic, being who they really are and not caring what other people think. Because when we’re our real selves, and honest about it, that’s where healing and help is for others who struggle.

    If you haven’t already, check out Becky Hastings post from this week, “Is the Internet for the Pretty People” at My Ink Dance. It’s the same kind of idea. There’s a theme this week!

    Thank you for being vulnerable, Danielle! You’re changing lives because of it!

    1. Thank you Kathy! It has taken me a long time to become a part of this “movement” as you call it. And I have learned there are plenty of men that struggle as well. It is so important to me for people to know how valuable they are. Learning my own value and then learning I am not alone has caused my deep desire to take off the mask even when it’s scary. We need each other.

      Thanks for the heads up on Becky’s post. I did read and enjoy it! Thanks!

      Thank you for the encouragement Kathy, changing people’s lives for the better is my aim. #healinghappenstogether

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