The mirror I see before me is not a reflection of who I am, but yet a mask I wear daily. I am a strange one if I ever let you see me. If I remove the mask long enough for you to get a glimpse of me. I am not trying to boast in my strangeness but rather what I hear people say about me, so I stay hidden often. I can remember people telling me as I was growing up to be yourself and people will love you. It was a nice thought but the practice of it seemed to not be true. In fact, the more I was being myself the more my classmates were angry with me or trying to make me like them. I often came home in tears, like my daughter does now, because we are not like everyone else. I am not sure what it is but it breaks my heart. It also seems that no matter how hard we have both tried to be close to people or wish to have friends we have not been the most successful at it.
I wonder what the drive is, at even a young age, to make someone else like you. Do we think we are better than others? Are we led to believe we are perfect? I think an answer I would get is we all long to belong, be part of a group and have connection. That answer is perhaps true, though tears on my daughter’s face are unsettling and remind me of the mask I used to wear at school. It was a strong mask, the one that kept my mouth from expressing through words to others what was going on with me. Though my head was always full of thoughts and questions; even then I witnessed the lack of respect for an individual being who God created them to be.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
As an adult, it has been hard to unlearn being like others especially being a people pleaser like I was (still working on it). It turns out the mind does not unlearn things. There was no way for me to unlearn being like others, trying to fit in, and making everyone else happy. Instead I tried to be someone else completely to retrain myself to become someone new. When I was deep in the trenches of this people pleasing life there were many masks I wore. I was the perfect daughter, the push-over friend, and "whatever you want" girlfriend. Because of these choices, those masks led me down a path of consequences.
Finally, I was tired of being everyone else’s version of "me". I started to figure out what I liked and the things I gave up for everyone else because it was not accepted. It also led me down a path of redefining what a friend really is to me and how they would interact in my life. This time of exhaustion led me to stop dating completely because I didn’t understand how I could even fill out a profile online if I couldn’t answer the questions honestly. I didn’t know the answers anymore and that was okay. I still don’t know them all and I am fine with that too because I don’t need to.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18
Someone came into my life that slowly and carefully pulled the mask away from my face.
He wiped away my tears and my fears.
He took the rest of the masks I had piled up around me and threw them away.
God didn’t want me to wear my mask anymore because He does love the face He gave me.
He created me for purpose on purpose.