After recently becoming obsessed with Arrow, a show on the CW for those who don’t know, and pretty much binge watching all three seasons in the matter of a little over a week, there was something said by one of the characters in the first episode of the third season that has continued to resonate with me.
“We are not our masks…”
Yes, I know this is a fictional television show with fictional characters, loosely based on a DC Comic. In the episode, the quote had more to it, which I’ll get to later. It’s this part about wearing masks that stuck with me because so many of us continue to wear “masks” every day of our lives.
I hope anyone who has chosen to read this post so far doesn’t stop just because you may not be a fan of the show. I believe anyone can relate to what I am about to say, even if you don’t watch the show. Even though I do think it is good show.
Real Life Masks Are Far Less Awesome Than Superheroes
Too often in our own lives, we live day after day, month after month, in a fog. Many times, living the lives we feel are handed to us without question and without argument. Recently without much reason – maybe it was something my kids, my husband or even I did – that made me realize that I have been living behind my own masks. Not some awesome superhero mask either like Arrow or Canary, but rather something far less cool and quite the opposite. In the real world, people’s masks often come in the form of the fear of failure, the fear of starting something and never finishing, the fear of disappointing others at our own expense, the fear of never being good enough, the fear of not having enough hours in the day to accomplish anything, the fear of what really living looks like, depression, grief and loss, lack of motivation and so much more.
These are the kinds of masks that hold us back and need to come off in order for any of us to take charge of our lives. This could often be the most terrifying thing any person can do if they have been living the same way their entire lives – a little unhappy, just content, a little miserable and too unwilling to rock the boat.
By realizing I’ve been wearing my masks for far too long, I felt like there was something else I should be doing with my life. Something bigger – something more useful of my talents and myself. Something much grander than who I am now. What that is, I have yet to determine? Except now that I have started taking my masks off, the world around me seems a little clearer, the bullshit seems a lot easier to spot and I know the only person holding me back is me.
What Are Your Masks? Mine?
At 38, I am a married mother of two small children and an adult stepdaughter; I am a grandmother too. I have been a writer for my entire professional life in some manner. In taking my masks away, I realized that I’m ready to write something that really matters, something that ignites people’s minds and imaginations. I want people to love writing (and reading) as much as I do. I have allowed excuses, outside influences and the fear of not being a very good writer hold me back for far too long from starting (and finishing) what I have always wanted to do – write books.
In reading this, I hope more people can relate to this feeling that maybe they too are living behind a mask. “We are not our masks” that we hide under every day to cover up the people we truly want to be – the people we truly can be. I know that I am not alone in this feeling.
Terrifying Factor of Removing Our Masks
Believe me; I know full well the terrifying factors in all of this. It is at an all-time high level for me because this falls on me now to figure out what this something bigger really is and how to take the steps, whether tiny or monumental, to become the person I think I can be and then continue being that person for me, my husband and my children. Throughout my life, I have continuously been told, but always forgotten, that in order to truly be happy, we must first be happy with ourselves. So I think it’s time remember that.
While this is just little ole me speaking, maybe this is a call to action to anyone who will take it. Maybe we need to start being our own superheroes first. Fortunately, this world still has many heroes living among us, whether it’s celebrities doing wonderful things when they are off camera or the ordinary people like you and me doing extraordinary things everyday with the hope to continue making this an incredible place to live even when it doesn’t always seem so amazing.
“…We need people in our lives who don’t wear one”
As for the rest of the quote – “…We need people in our lives who don’t wear one,” this reigns true in all of our lives because in real life we need people who aren’t afraid to be their true selves without the masks to give us examples of who we want to be one day – the people we know we can be. I commend those people who live fearlessly. My only hope is to one day be one of those people.
Why do we wear masks? Who are we without them? Is it the fear of the people behind them? What is your mask keeping you from?
I’m willing to finally take all of my masks off one by one. Are you? Why wait for anyone else? Your time is now.
Click here and join my effort to take off our masks and be our true selves.