Today’s question: What parts of yourself do you regularly hide from others?

I think we are wear masks. We wear masks to keep ourselves from getting hurt, or at least that is why I did and sometimes still do wear masks. I think I also wore masks sometimes to protect me from myself. My masks have changed over the years. Wearing them always felt wrong, like I was hiding who I was.

As a teenager, my mask was first one of being a happy person when the reality was I was depressed. As my friends started to experiment with drugs, smoking and alcohol, my mask was one of superiority when part of me was really desperate to join them. In part, that mask was thanks to my parents instilling in me that I shouldn’t do any of those things.

For my parents the mask was of the dutiful daughter. I still wear this mask. I wonder when I will gather the courage to remove that mask with them, and allow them to see me as the flawed human I really am.

I remember going to see Mulan at the age of 14. At the time, I had few people I could call my friends because I had alienated them all with my holier-than-thou attitude. I remember feeling a bit lame that on a Friday night, I had nothing better to do than to go see a movie with my mom, and at the same time feeling grateful that I have such a good relationship with her. I recall crying when Mulan sings the song Reflection.

Look at me,
I will never pass for a perfect bride, or a perfect daughter.
Can it be,
I’m not meant to play this part
Now I see, that if I were truly to be myself,
I would break my family’s heart

Who is that girl I see, staring straight back at me?
Why is my reflection someone I don’t know?
Somehow I cannot hide
Who I am, though I’ve tried.
When will my reflection show, who I am, inside
How I pray, that a time will come,
I can free myself, from their expectations
On that day, I’ll discover someway to be myself,
and to make my family proud
They want a docile lamb,
No-one knows who I am.
Must there be a secret me,
I’m forced to hide
Must I pretend that I am someone else for all time?
When will my reflection show, who I am inside?
When will my reflection show, who I am inside?

As I get older, I hide my flaws less and less. I am kinder and gentler to myself, although I still sometimes can be quite self-critical. I think that is why it was so important for me to let go of my tightly held control over my smoking, give in so that I could get to I place where I wanted to not smoke or use nicotine rather than tightly moderating something I really wanted to do. As I get older I hide less and less because I feel more and more comfortable with myself and care less and less about what others think.

More on this tomorrow as today, Thursday and Friday’s questions are all related. So you could say this is part one in a three part series.

Meditation: Guided Visualization for Deep Sleep