The magnets were delivered a week ago, but I had to figure out how to write about them, what exactly they meant to be before I could sell them.
I took it as a message to myself.
It made me think about the masks I’ve worn throughout my life. The parts I’ve played, the people I’d become in order to be liked, loved, and accepted. Beginning as a young child with the family I grew up in.
I can still remember when in my mid-forties, I had the idea that instead of finding people I wanted to be friends with and ingratiating myself with them, I’d be who I was and let friends find me.
Recently my therapist was trying to explain to me that it was me who had the power in my relationship with the family I was born into. That I was the one who left them. As my great fear is about being drawn back into the family, this came as a kind of revelation to me.
How did I not know it?
Even as I was asserting my power, I was at the same time giving it away. I didn’t want to take responsibility for what I had done. For my decision not to see them.
But hiding only made me more frightened. I was lying to myself for reasons I still can’t articulate.
The thing is, taking off the mask, doesn’t only happen once. Just we change and grow and we give birth to ourselves again and again, we remove one mask after another. Layer after layer, getting close each time to the essence of who we really are. The truth of the more desirable and the less appealing self.
But at least it’s the truth.
Is it cruel for me to not visit my mother even if I am doing it to protect myself? Maybe, but if I decide it’s more important to protect myself, then I have to accept that I can be cruel.
And off comes the mask.
What I’ve found is that as hard as it sometimes is to see and accept the truth, even if it still feels bad, it always feels better.
The woman in my drawing is in the process of taking off her mask. I think because, it is like I’ve said, something that happens again and again. And sometimes we take off the mask only to put it back on again.
It’s a choice. A part of living, of changing, of growing, of being. And for me, my drawing of Taking Off The Mask is a reminder of that.