Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Post I Retitled "The Mask"

Today I was going to post a story I wrote, but due to the subject matter, I don't feel it is in good taste considering the battles some of my readers are facing tonight.  I'll save it for another day so that no one mistakenly thinks I'm directing it him or her.  

That being said, it's only Day Four, and I'm hitting a wall.  My motivation was at its highest on Day One.  
Day Two was my yearly recycled blog for August 2nd.  Yesterday's post was extremely difficult, but it was my daughter's birthday so at least I had inspiration.  I had planned to share a fiction piece today and take an easy way out, but I can't even do that.  It's not that I have nothing to say. Make no mistake, I have plenty I wish I could share.   I'm sitting here with a million things to say and no freedom to say any of them.  Today reminds me of why I stopped writing:  I can't be honest.  It's not that I have to lie.  I just can't say what I really want to say.  It's too personal.  Too painful.  It would affect too many people.  I struggle to write when I'm totally consumed by something (unless I am able to write about that which consumes me).  

So where does this post go from here?  What do I do for the remaining 27 days of this challenge?  Is this going to end up feeling like yet another part of my life that is failing?  

This used to be so therapeutic.

I guess I could always fall back on the old "here's a recap of my day" post.  I might die from eye rolling, but at least I could fill up part of the page.  It hasn't been a bad day.  I spent it with family, and we celebrated my daughter's birthday (again and we still haven't had her official party).  I was surrounded by people who make me feel loved.  But there was still the struggle to put on a happy face and pretend I'm "normal."  I've worked so hard to perfect the appearance that I'm okay, that I'm happy and healthy.  It's not that I'm trying to mislead people.  I don't do it to be fake or to convince people that I or my life is perfect.  If any of you have known me very long (or have read this blog), you know I try to be pretty honest about how I feel and what I believe.  It's like the time someone told me she was glad I "finally got pregnant."  I'd only tried for four months and asked her what she meant.  She said she assumed that I must be having fertility issues since we had been married so long and didn't have children.  I reminded her that if that had been true, she would have read about it on Facebook because I have a (bad?) habit of putting my business OUT there.  

Artwork by eddietheyeti
But this time it's not like that.  There are some things that can't be "put out."  There are some things that only those on my very inner circle can know, and some things that I can't even share with them.  And the damnable misery of it is that I feel like I'm going to explode sometimes from holding it in.  

Let me tell you what happens to people who put on the proverbial happy face for too long: they stop being able to show their real emotions in a healthy way.  They become angry and scared and anxious and bitter.

I've become angry and scared and anxious and bitter.

I hide these emotions behind the "happy mask," though, so that I can get through the day.  So that I don't worry or burden those around me.  I've worn this mask for a little while now, long enough that I don't have to remember to put it on.  It's like I'm programmed now.   The problem is that eventually The Mask has to come off, and what's behind it is scarred and ugly.  It reeks of insecurity and desperation.  

For those who are very fortunate, there is somemone in their lives who recognizes that the smile is fake, who allows them to remove The Mask, who even encourages it.  Someone who touches the scars and says, "You're still beautiful."  Someone who won't be pushed away, who refuses to give up.  Someone who will make the mask unneccessary, obsolete.  It isn't an easy task. It's often difficult to love someone who is hurting.  Just like a wounded animal who won't let anyone close enough to help it, a broken heart will build walls to protect itself even from those who would attempt to mend it.  A broken heart will encourage us to push people away just to make them prove they'll stay.  It takes a brave person to love a broken heart.  

I don't know how long I'll have to wear my mask.  I don't know how long this hurt is going to last.  I'm just going to chip away at it a little each day until I find myself underneath.  I'm going to break down the walls around my heart and love myself.  I'm going to be brave.  

Photo by Ria Pereia
Soon, I'm going to look in the mirror and see what other see--a smile.  A genuine smile.  

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I'm going to have a good day.  I don't know what I'll do or how I'll celebrate.  It will most likely be a day like every other.  I survived the past year, though, so it will be a good day.  And I promise a happy post for my happy birthday.   Peace and love wherever you are tonight.  

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