There is only one stage in our lives when we are authentically true. When we are born. It is when we have no pre conceived ideas or notions to sway us in any way. As we get older, we learn and we adapt. We start to wear masks and participate in some grand masquerade ball.
We wear the mask of the child, the sibling. The mask of the friend, the partner. The mask of the parent, the neighbour. The mask of the student, the teacher. We wear them, we learn to love them. We adapt to them. They are beautiful and mysterious and we go through life dancing with strangers. Some strangers become familiar and we reveal our genuine face to them. Others, we keep our masks firmly on and twirl to the next partner.
We also endure heavy, wearisome masks. The warrior. The survivor. The victim.
I started out participating in this masquerade ball happily. I switched masks when expected, with joy. I loved playing every role. I smiled through it all and lived life to it’s fullest with what I was given. Slowly, over time, I was worn down. I started to feel stifled and choked by my masks. I didn’t enjoy putting them on. But I didn’t enjoy who I had become. I was a muddled version of me. I lost myself. I became so obscured by my masks I didn’t know who I was supposed to be anymore.
Now I am trying to find my way back. I am not wearing masks anymore. I’ve come to learn that life is not a mysterious ball where you hide your true self to wend your way through life. Life is brutal and brittle, untamed and unchartered, melancholy and oppressive, beautiful and tender. It is here to be lived, not hidden away from. I’m here to feel it, believe in it… And I must always remember – life is a dance, not a masquerade.
© Melinda McKeon 20 November 2019