As I am writing, today is Halloween. I loved Halloween as a kid. It meant costumes and candy. This morning one of my grandsons was running through the house in a Batman costume. It’s normal for kids to enjoy wearing masks and pretending to be someone else like a superhero or a cartoon character.
Over time many of us learn to wear masks for reasons other than entertainment. If we are involved in recovery, then odds are that we have learned to wear masks for protection and to hide from shame. I convinced myself that if people really saw who I was then no one would want to be around me, and the idea that someone would be able to care, or dare I say it, love me, that was impossible if they really saw who I was. As my grandson ran around the house this morning pretending to be Batman, I never had any doubt about who he really was. Maybe from a distance I might not be able to tell which grandson is in the costume but I know it’s not really Batman. Likewise, as I hide behind a mask of respectability and pretend like I have it all together, People may be fooled for a little while but sooner or later they know something isn’t right.
In my struggle I started to spend more and more time online and on social media. In that world we can be anyone we want to be because we never have to see someone face to face. But even in that world, the more we try to portray a perfect life. the harder it can become to convince people we are real. In my life it was only a matter of time until the rubber band holding the mask in place broke and the mask fell off revealing my real self. I’m thankful that eventually, by God’s grace, I wasn’t able to react as quickly when the mask fell off. Someone saw what was underneath and helped me to understand that the person I was hiding, while flawed and broken, still had great worth. I was able to discover community that could help me find hope for the future.
Today, when I pick up a mask it’s to play with the grandkids or to attend a party with friends and family. I no longer need a mask to hide my insecurities, weaknesses and failures. If you find yourself hiding behind a mask to conceal your shame and brokenness, please hear me when I say, you’re beautiful. You have value. You are accepted. Make the decision to drop the mask. Let’s learn to live life on life’s terms, together. Shoot me an email at email@example.com. You can do this