I don’t have any of my high school yearbooks anymore so it was with great delight that I received a photocopied page from our year nine yearbook. My friend had photocopied the page that had three poems I had written that year. I know, I know. Published by 14 – it was a proud moment ;)
I wanted to share one of them that seems to still ring true today, funnily enough. And apologies for the writing - I was only 14! So without further ado, I give you:
Everyday it’s different
Everyday it changes
Everyday the way I think
and the way I behave ranges
I’ve got to make everyone like me
I’ve got to do this right
I’ve got to act as if I’m flying high
Flying high as a kite
No matter what the price
I’ve got to make everyone believe
That I’m likeable and nice
Even though the real me
Is buried deep inside
My real emotions and feelings
Are things I have to hide
Only my really good friends
Know me inside and out
They know whenever I’m feeling down
They know without a doubt
What makes them think you aren’t what you are
So many people ask
The thing that throws them all off track
Is the illusion of the mask.
Now, while I acknowledge that this isn't fantastic writing, I'm more interested in the fact that how I felt back then can still apply today. Until a couple of years ago, I still subscribed to this ridiculous notion that everyone had to like me. Why, I couldn't tell you. But what I can tell you is that I've almost completely shrugged that off and I feel a bazillion times better.
We all wear masks at one time or another. But when do you do it? Do you put yours on before you arrive at Christmas lunch? Or before you catch up with friends you haven't seen in a while? I can tell you that in a previous life, I would wear mine to any social gathering with my family. Also, I used to work in recruitment...so, enough said really. But these days I don't need to. These days I'm more comfortable with the person staring back at me in the mirror.
Being more comfortable in your skin, and liking (yes, even loving) yourself is only something I have come to experience lately. And it's liberating. It's extremely liberating to hang these old masks up and face the world, daring it to take me as I am.
Do you slip on a mask for any particular occasion?
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