Yesterday was Halloween. I’ve never really understood the point of the holiday. Sure, I’ve had parties…amazing costumes on occasion…enjoyed my fair share of candy, but it’s never been a holiday that moved the needle for me. Some years I celebrate it and some I don’t. This year, I didn’t.
As I sat on the couch last night contemplating the events of the day and thinking about all the people that dressed up – with and without children – I was struck my a thought. Masks. They are such a crucial part of Halloween. We make such a big deal about having the perfect “mask” to make the costume.
How is this different than every day of our lives?
We wear a variety of masks…child…aunt…sibling…yoga teacher…yoga student…coach…witch…retiree…entrepreneur…fiancé…dog/cat owner…hippy… The list goes on and on, and that’s just my list. With each “role”, I wear a different and distinct mask. Each has a particular set of characteristics…behaviors…associated with it. In some, I’m submissive. In others, dominant.
The biggest challenge I’ve faced this past year is deciphering what was a mask and what was real. Who is “Candy”? Which character is she? Is she a compilation of all of them? Is it possible to stop putting on and taking off the masks? Is it possible to just be me?
For years I didn’t swear in front of my family…which is ridiculous because nearly everyone in my family swears. I grew up hearing cuss words. At some point, it became ok for my sister to swear…yet as the eldest child, I still struggled to utter a “hell” or “shit” or “damn” in front of my family. This from someone who has one of the best trucker mouths in the land. This from someone who’s favorite word to color up a sentence and get a point across…is the f-bomb.
I remember the first time I let a swear word slip. I think it was a year or two ago. It might have been a “damn” or “shit” but when it came out of my mouth, I heard the record scratch to a halt…and a collective gasp from the fam. It was awesome. Finally, I’d started to merge masks…blend worlds…integrate personas.
At my nephew’s football game a month ago, I did more than utter a harmless cuss word. I dropped the f-bomb in front of not only my family but a bleacher full of parents and children. My stepdad was a bit offended…and probably shocked. He attempted to correct my error…but it wasn’t an error. I was reacting in the heat of the moment. I’d taken off the “good daughter” mask and threw on the protector. The words that came out of my mouth were exactly what I wanted to say and I didn’t give a fuck who heard them.
Over the past year or so I’ve been consciously working to drop the masks…to consciously leave Halloween for one day a year. To fully integrate all aspects of who I am to be a fully integrated, real me. For some this will be hard to get used to. For others, it will be refreshing. And when I accomplish stepping fully into who I am, I hope to serve as an example.
Who we are…who you are…who I am…is 100% ok. We don’t need to hide parts of ourselves. We don’t need to tuck aspects of who we are away from some and not others. All our pieces and parts are beautiful…just as they are…mask-free. My suggestion: save the masks for Halloween.