Part of me thinks
That I’m expected,
In an effort to be taken seriously
And respected by people at large,
To present a neat, cleanly wrapped up
Societally acceptable image of myself.
Think pictures of me:
Smiling & laughing
Traveling to exotic locations
Eating at the newest, hippest restaurants,
Posting all my amazing, exciting adventures online.
Basically me all pulled together
Living (what we’re taught to believe & what appears to others)
Our best life.
I’ve had health issues all my adult life.
Know what that’s taught me?
The blessing in it?
I don’t have the energy to create
In some moments, I’m pulled together.
In other moments, I feel like a complete mess.
I fluctuate between the two.
Knowing even when I am “pulled together”
At any moment I could digress.
It’s easy for me to think,
“Something’s wrong with me.”
Everyone else handles things so well
Which in my mind equates to…
I know that’s not true.
That people are just projecting an image
For other people to see
In order to appear successful, competent or enviable.
That what you see
Is always only part of the story.
Sometimes even 100% fiction.
Avoiding personal truths
As well as masking or hiding parts of ourselves
Never ends well.
Everyone has good days.
Everyone has bad days.
Everyone has struggles.
Everyone experiences pain & loss.
Life is full of ups & downs.
There’s no way around it.
Trying to hide the downs
Doesn’t make us stronger.
It disconnects us from others.
It disconnects us from ourselves.
Within each of us is an array of traits & tendencies –
Some good and some bad.
Circumstances, problems & obstacles come & go.
Up and down.
But our greatest strength isn’t in
Any image we create.
It’s in showing our true selves.
In allowing our walls
(And therefore the truth behind the image)
To come out.
Only by accepting our truth
Showing our real, unedited selves
Can we create a life & relationships
That lead to happiness & fulfillment.
If I show you my mask.
You show me yours.
And never does any real communication or connection ensue.
I’m not advocating
Vomiting our problems & issues
On everyone around.
Fulfillment stems from authenticity.
So, it’d serve us well
As scary as it may be
To once in a while
Put the mask down.
For anyone wondering
What this has to do with
Personal accountability, change or success.
We can only improve,
Hold ourselves responsible
Or truly succeed
By acknowledging every part of ourself.
Deny or hide any part
And you create a prison
Within which you’re forced to live.
You may be okay there
Today or tomorrow –
Even for years.
But a day will come
When you realize much
(If not all)
That you created
Was a lie.
And, in that moment
You’ll realize slowly
You’ve been watching your true self slowly die.