Today is a day of traditional celebration. It’s a day filled with ghosts, ghouls and goblins, cartoon characters and Disney personalities. A day where little boys dress up as their favorite superheroes and little girls are draped in princess and ballerina attire. By midday, most neighborhood stores are sold out of candy, while parents are preparing to take their kids out for a night of Trick or Treating.
In the spirit of Halloween, with all of the costumes and disguises, I felt it was only right to discuss with you all, why it’s important to stop hiding behind a mask.
I’m not talking about the Ronald Reagan mask you wore last year to your co-workers Halloween party. Nor am I referring to the Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees masks you favorited as a kid. I’m talking about the mask we’re all guilty of wearing. The disguises we throw on to convince ourselves that everything is great, all while we continue to suffer silently.
Have you ever met someone that you simply adore? Someone you can’t get enough of. You laugh at all of their jokes, and hold hands while you two walk along the pier, admiring the beautiful sky during night fall. During conversation, you stare into each others eyes as if nothing and no one else exists around you.
They know all the right things to say to make you feel like you’re the single most important person in their life. Before long you begin to inadvertently place your heart in their hands, trusting they’ll cherish and protect it the same way you have all these years. You allow yourself to display your vulnerabilities, in hopes that they’ll understand you better. Out of nowhere you’re now seeking their constant approval and welcoming every suggestion.
You have given them the keys to your joy and they have become the protectors of your peace, having washed their hands in the river of your affection. You find safety in their presence, comfort in their arms and pleasure in their devotion.
You’re in love! But the person you fell in love with isn’t who you thought they were. In fact, they are the complete opposite of everything you’ve grown to expect. Truth is, the person you fell in love with is nothing more the image of who you have imagine yourself to be?
"No mask like open truth to cover lies, as to go naked is the best disguise."
- William Congreve (1694)
How many of you are honest enough to admit that at some point, you fell in love with the idea of who you thought you were, simply because you were ashamed of accepting your true self? I know I have.
For years I’ve lacked self confidence, and struggled with my identity. I had very low self esteem and didn’t think much of myself, often hiding behind the mask of self assurance to camouflage the truth of my insecurities. I never believed that my best was good enough, so I’d often seek solace in the opinions and perceptions of my peers. I simply craved acceptance because I hadn’t uncovered it for myself.
It was only a few short years ago that I finally learned to love myself. At the time, medication was my best friend, tobacco was a close relative, alcohol had become a friend of the family, and depression was a weekly dinner guest. It was either, learn to love myself or accept my fate as another statistic. I had to accept my faults if I had any chance of fixing them.
Today, let me serve as a reminder for you to stop shielding yourself from the image of imperfection. You no longer need to hide from who you are in order to display who you think you need to be. You are imperfectly perfect, and possess the ability to become whatever you wish, you just have to believe that it’s possible.
Find comfort in knowing your potential and learn to love yourself, flaws and all. No one will ever truly accept you until you learn to accept yourself. People will only treat you according to how you treat yourself, and once you stop hiding behind your own mask, it’ll be easier for you to spot those that are still dressed up.