Remember when you were kid and how excited you were for Hallowe’en?
The time of year where all the kids put on makeup, masks and costumes. You remember how excited you were when you were deciding on what you wanted to be for Hallowe’en? And you imagined at what your costume was going to look like? Then when the day came, you put on your costume, your mask and/or you had your parents face paint the makeup onto you.
Voila! You had become the character that you had wanted to become and as your body filled up with excited energy, you then went off into the night to collect candy from all over the neighbourhood…and (hopefully) come home with a bag full.
Now, fast-forward to young adulthood. Your in college/university and Hallowe’en has come along. You get all excited at what character you want to portray. You imagine what your costume is going to look like and when the day came, you enthusiastically put on the costume, the mask and the make-up and you fill up with excited energy as you get to portray the character that you wanted to portray. You then go off into the night to the nearest Hallowe’en party to socialize and (possibly) slam dunk as many drinks as possible. Going wild…and having a good time.
It’s funny isn’t it? How we put on masks, makeup, and costumes to go to Hallowe’en parties and totally release our inhibitions. How excited we get when we put on a mask and totally escape from reality by being the character we are portraying (not to mention fuelling ourselves with alcohol to go along with it). How interesting it is when we take off our masks, costumes and our makeup and just merely go back to “being ourselves” in “normal” life…censored, conforming, meek and obedient little robots afraid to take chances and risks. Afraid of what others will think of us.
Are you really your true authentic self when you take off your mask, your makeup and your costume?
In life, we play out a series of identities (or roles) that get us through our everyday grind and the role that you play will grossly affect your behaviour and the results that you attract into your space.
Think about it this way: When you put on your Hallowe’en masks, makeup and costumes, how did you act? Did you have to think about how to act or did it just happen naturally?
It’s interesting as to how we play the role. We rigorously play out our roles given to us by society and our families and achieve results according to their expectations. We achieve results and we are satisfied, even if the results don’t serve us.
Then you get to that space where your identity is not serving you any more and you get stuck in limbo (more on this in a future issue). What then?
When your mask comes off, who are you? Who are you, really? What is your REAL identity?
Are you acting and playing out the REAL you?
Or are you just another actor performing on stage with nobody sitting in the audience?
I wore a mask every day of my life up to a certain point. I wore a mask thinking I was safe and secure behind it – just play out the role given to me and no one will bother me. I’ll just mask the real me so that I won’t stir the pot and just conform to the other mask-wearing individuals.
It’s amazing what can happen when you put on a mask.
I remember putting on a mask a decade ago and walking into a high school with it on. It was a weird mask….I think it was supposed to be a mouse with short and shaggy black hair and the face looked like someone put the boots to it – bloody nose, black eyes, busted teeth, the whole works.
I put this thing on, walked into work with it on and then walked into the high school (there’s a link that joins my building and the high school together). With this mask on, I felt I got treated differently and got all sorts of interesting responses. As I sauntered through the halls, I felt a little uneasy because this was so “out of character” for me. But then I eventually got into it and got more and more comfortable inciting responses from people (I walked past some hockey players (I work at a rec center) and one guy quipped that the mask looked like the wife of one of his teammates). Some people laughed and some people thought I was an idiot. Either way, I was enjoying myself and having fun. However, when I took the mask off and went back to “normal” life, the spontanaeity was gone and I was stuck with the “mask”/identity that covered up my true authentic self. With that mask, I felt I was alone and miserable and I felt that I was worthless and had no place in the world.
My question to you is this: If you have the freedom to act “wild and crazy” when you put on an artificial mask, then what is stopping you from being the REAL you in “real” life when the mask comes off?
Next time you feel that you are in limbo or asking yourself, “What should I be doing with my life” try this:
Put on the “mask” of your favourite character (not literally, but metaphorically put on a mask), someone of who you really admire and REALLY become that person as you interact with your friends and even with random strangers. See what happens when you do it and just observe their responses non-judgmentally.
Have lots of fun with this. Hey, if you love to party, then this shouldn’t be a problem now, should it?
At the end of the day, ask yourself, “What did I learn about myself today? Who was the real me beneath the mask I was wearing? What did it feel like to become the person of whom I really admire?”
What won’t happen if you let your authentic self surface in your life…?
Be honest with yourself and let the answers naturally come to you. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised…