(Reading time 3 mins)
The temptation to use attention grabbing techniques and write in a way that’s proven to easily please an audience’s comfort zone and expectations, it’s high. The reason being it’s only natural to want to belong and hold a place somewhere of value.
However, there’s a personal memory that lurks, a painful one. The mask, the triple identity and split personality that involves transforming daily into 3 roles, the professional, the social and the honest acrobat. Each role has an entirely different smile attached and language associated with it. It’s kind of expected of each person to perform such identity juggles to fit in. It’s just what we do.
That personal painful memory, I did the act, wore the mask, made everyone feel comfortable with a version of myself, based on the intuition of what they expected. Even though I’ve always held my own opinion more than most, I still wore the mask too. Nothing is more uncomfortable than wearing the mask, there is never the opportunity to slip up and appear a fraud. The act is exhausting and creates a distance from someone feeling they will ever be accepted just as they are. Even worse it creates fear of being accepted in honesty.
4 years ago I dropped that mask, something cracked, maybe it was a smile? Maybe it was exhaustion? Maybe it was everything becoming too much to carry? In this decision I attended a course, a weekend session on dropping the mask, taught by a guru of the art. At the time the course seemed enlightening and empowering, the advice was to simply drop the mask and be who you are. Take risks, be bold, throw caution to the wind and celebrate the freedom. EPIC FAIL. Don’t ever do it. DO NOT JUST DROP THE MASK.
The course lacked intuition on being both a human and the art of fitting in with technology today. Since taking the advice without question, I now question everything before making such a bold move. What happened was that people did not know how to react to this new version of me. I appeared a fraud, what they concluded was that I had lost my mind due to stress of divorce. They could not handle the dramatic change of honesty coming out of no where, with no filter on it, especially on social media.
It was still a good lesson, 4 years on the mask is entirely dropped and friends are used to me in my natural version. What shocked and distressed them the most was learning how much stress and burden I was hiding under all the masks. With me dropping my mask others let theirs slip a little too, now we connect at points of sharing problems and feelings more openly. The risk paid off eventually, at the time it was a disaster of vulnerability.
My open advice to anyone is to always listen to themselves and what they feel is best or comfortable for them. But if the mask is uncomfortable, maybe let is slip a little in a situation of low risk and vulnerability? It is worth doing, it’s the burden falling away.
Now in natural form it’s on to learning how to master communicating with honesty to any audience’s comfort zone. The challenge is a big one, metaphysics being the path of deliberate creation to find the answers.