Removing The Mask
"The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion" ~ Paulo Coelho
Removing The Mask
By Desiree Adaway / medium.com
Nov 2, 2015

When I was young, I had a horrible time sharing myself with the world.

I was awkward, nervous, hormonal, uncertain.

I felt different and I had no idea how to articulate my quirkiness, nor any idea how to celebrate it.

So I did what every other teenage girl in the history of the world has done.

I hid.

I hid myself because life was hard and hiding was easier.

I put on the mask.

You know the mask. The one that tells the world that you are perfect and nice. The one that says don’t rock the boat or raise your hand and get noticed. Don’t let your light shine too brightly and don’t laugh too loudly or too much. Don’t be fearless and don’t cry. Don’t continue to be a square peg while everyone else is a round hole.

I promised I would just wear the mask for school in order to help me fit in. Then, I would only wear it at certain family functions. I would most definitely wear it to church, so as not to make the pastor angry. And I soon decided I should put it on when I talked to boys, because no one wants to see the real me, right?

The real me is a mess of emotions and pain. Unloveable. And if I wanted to be loved, I believed I needed to be perfect.

The mask I believed was my salvation, was actually a prison of my own making. I had worn this mask for so long, I had no idea who I really was.

The masked face I had always worn to impress others had only diminished the real me. My true self had lived in the shadows for so long, could I ever grow and bloom? Was I even loveable?

At first, the light felt harsh. I could see all my flaws and cracks in the sunlight.

Still, I had to take off that mask.

My marriage ended when I removed the mask. Friends became angry when I removed it. Members of my family were confused and sometimes hostile.

But for the first time ever, I could see my true beauty.

A new idea began to take root, deep in the heart of me: I did not have to be perfect.

My imperfections were just as inspirational and important to my community as any outdated perception of me.

When I finally chose to remove my mask I finally heard the beat of my own heart.

And it was beautiful.

There comes a point when we all must take off the mask. Maybe not today… but someday we must.


Go to the profile of Desiree Adaway

Desiree Adaway

Leading difficult conversations on race, class + gender. Building resilient organizations at The Adaway Group. Writer. Speaker. Coach.

4.0 ·
2
Featured Pay Per View Films
Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective (2015)
92 min
Within Reach (2013)
87 min
The Economics of Happiness (2011)
65 min
Trending Today
Why Does Our Culture Focus So Much on Childbirth and So Little on The Time After?
Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett5,310 views today ·
Born Sexy Yesterday: Another Gendered Hollywood Movie Trope That Needs to Die
18 min2,927 views today ·
Through Abdullah's Eyes (2017)
42 min1,878 views today ·
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min1,026 views today ·
Predatory Romance in Harrison Ford Movies
17 min704 views today ·
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad632 views today ·
This Facebook Comment About the UK Election Is Going Viral
Chris Renwick572 views today ·
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley560 views today ·
How a Land High in the Western Himalayas Can Help Us Understand The Crisis of The Modern World
9 min463 views today ·
Load More


Love Films For Action? 

Films For Action empowers citizens with the information and perspectives essential to creating a more just, sustainable, and democratic society.

If you feel like you get some value from this library, consider making a donation today. Every little bit helps.

Join us on Facebook
Removing The Mask