This week I have been teaching the concept of how we are often wearing masks and how to ultimately learn to live from a place of authenticity and true Self. While doing my research on this topic, I ran across a great article from Huffington Post about five common masks we wear.
Like a poke in the eye, two of the five masks jumped from the article to blatantly scream out to me–YES, YES! Recognize me???
How many times in an effort to remain positive and always looking through the lens of roses and perfection have I denied the painful truth? When has June Cleaver taken over the reality that life is hard. And by hard, I mean H.A.R.D. Living with a disabled adult child, which is really like living with a full-grown eight year old, is hard. It is far from the perfect mask that I often wear.
The ‘June Cleaver’ mask of perfection hides the shame. The pain. The loss. The frustration. Mostly, this mask hides the quiet whispers that say “I don’t want to do this anymore….that I am done”.
I want a life outside of disability and from being a caregiver. I long for that phase of life when the kids are raised and my life can be lived for myself with the pleasures that I dream of.
It is fair to also say that the mask of perfection serves as a shield to hide the guilt I feel when I utter those words.
Certainly it can also be a great coping strategy. By believing and sharing that all is perfect, it often though keeps me from crumbling into the arms of anyone willing to listen when I reveal that I am tired, I am done living with an eight year old and that worrying about the daily happenings of someone else is truly exhausting.
That is not the only mask I wear.
When I am not wearing my perfection mask, I am donning my mask of strength. The counter mask to the perfection mask, this one protects all that is. It stands tall for anyone daring to mess with me, or the girl. It is the mask that overcomes physical and emotional pain. It subdues anyone who questions me, or my choices.
It is the epitome of badass.
Throughout this week of teaching/learning about life with and without a mask, I not only had the chance to look squarely in the face of what I do to cope, but also at the reality of what is.
The authenticity of what is.
The real deal is that I am tired. Some days I am really sick of autism. I am struggling many days to hang with the physical pain my broken body feels. I worry about the future. I fear the unknown. I ache for what I have never had.
Without the masks to shield me, that is my truth. Am I any less? Nah, I am more real. I am far more genuine than the girl who hides behind perfection and strength. And a bit of me feels far more free for admitting it.