Masks. They are a part of life, no?
Cloaks and costumes. Also part of life?
There is a quote by W.H. Auden,
"Private faces in public places
Are wiser and nicer
Than public faces in private places"
Sometimes we assume the need for a mask when there really isn't one. We are trained, conditioned even commanded to look and act a certain way. No matter what keep the mask on.
Later on we learn there is a sense of safety behind the mask. We learn to use the mask to change our face, our voice, our visible self.
It is seductive. This mask wearing. It feels safe. And it is. Safe and lonely. Safe and isolated. Safe and imprisoned. Wear the mask long enough and it can become more of you than you think. And be impossible to completely remove.
Sometimes we wear many masks. One for family. One for friends. One for church. One for public. One for _______________. Soon we find that when the mask is off no only does no one really know us, we don't know ourselves either.
I was raised in a mask dominated world where the public faces mattered more than private faces. Where the image of us was vastly more valuable than our actual selves.
It is more than that though. We are trained by culture and society to wear masks and capes. Make up. Girdles. Bras. This kind of coat. Those sort of earrings. Those shoes. That music. Those books. Not fitting in becomes not an option for so many of us.
And yet we rebel. And yet we cry out. And yet we seek Him who seeks us. And He asks for no masks. No costumes. We can't hide from Jesus.
It can be terrifying to lose the mask. And freeing. And lonely. Change is not easy for us, even when it saves us.
I fell into a trap though, when I sought the return of my voice and I shed the masks. Layer by layer I let them go. Until I found my own visage. And with my voice ready to use, my face free of masks I was faced with another challenge - no one wanted to see or hear me now.
What do you do then? I assumed a cloak of invisibility. And it works. Because they let it. And I let it. They let it because it is easier for them. I let it because it is easier for them. and for me too!
And I struggle with it. Going through Jo Ann Fore's book When A Woman Finds Her Voice I am struggling still. Layers are peeling back only to reveal more layers. It reminds me of the onion joke - the way to not cry when peeling an onion is to not get emotionally attached. ha ha but it is true.
Don't be attached to the masks. To the cloaks. To the silence. It is not meant to be ours forever!
Finding my way through Jo Ann's book has been like peeling back the layers. Knowing each one can be shed safely. And I don't need to cry over them.
We are sharing today with a whole bunch of amazing women who are finding, using and sharing their voices. Click on the linkup to join in with your voice! Visit the blogs. Leave some love. Always leave love!
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