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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Can I send you this?
Free download of Dare to Believe.