This got forwarded on to me – the author is Charles Finn. So many people I know struggle with this.
Don’t be fooled by me. Don’t be fooled by the face I wear; for I wear a mask-a thousand masks; masks that I’m afraid to take off, and none of them are really me. Pretending is an art that’s second nature to me, but don’t be fooled.
I give you the impression that I’m secure, that all is sunny and unruffled with me, within as well as without. Confidence is my name and coolness is my game. I am in command. I need no one. But don’t believe me-please. My surface may seem smooth but my surface is my mask, my ever-changing and ever-concealing mask. Beneath dwells the real me in confusion, in fear, in aloneness. But I hide this. I don’t want anybody to know it.
I panic at the thought of my fear and weakness being exposed. That’s why I frantically create a mask to hide behind, a nonchalant, sophisticated facade-to help me pretend; to shield me.
Acceptance, followed by love is what I need. It is one thing that will assure me that I’m really worth something. But I don’t tell you this. I don’t dare. I’m afraid to. I’m afraid that you’ll think less of me, that you’ll laugh, and your laugh would kill me.
My life becomes a front. I idly chatter to you in the suave tones of surface talk. I tell you everything that’s really nothing, and nothing of what’s everything. So when I’m going through my routine, do not be fooled by what I’m saying. Please listen carefully and try to hear what I’m not saying, what I’d like to be able to say, but what I’m afraid to say.
I dislike the superficial game I’m playing-the superficial, phony game. I’d really like to be genuine and spontaneous and me. But that fear-that wall of fear…it stops me every time. My survival depends on breaking through that wall. It depends on me…fighting my fear, shedding my mask and showing myself to you. But I am scared. I’m afraid that deep down I’m nothing-that I’m just no good, and that you’ll see this and reject me.
So, I play my game, my desperate, pretending game, with a facade of assurance without, and a trembling child within, and so begins the parade of masks.*
Do you resonate with this? Do you have a place to take off the mask?