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Behind the Mask


Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. Pinterest

“You should never leave home without your makeup on,” this from my mother when I stopped by her house a number of years ago. I wasn’t feeling well that day and as a result putting on makeup was the last thing on my mind. At the time of her remark I didn’t care but much later on upon reflection it really hurt.

Hiding behind makeup began long before I even wore cosmetics. Growing up in a dysfunctional household lends itself to the development of becoming a Subject Matter Expert in the area of keeping up appearances.

Going through the motions means suppressing those feelings of inadequacy, invisibility, anxiety, discouragement, weakness, fear and melancholy. Yet the inner turmoil leads to soul-crushing tumult which in turn requires isolation in an attempt to make it through.

I know that playing the endless: “I shouldn’t’ be feeling like this because thus and so is worse off than I…” or the “If only I…” or “what’s wrong with me…” self-deprecating recordings are ineffective and only intensify the debilitating feelings of worthlessness. Applying my mask to face the world because I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m abnormal is exhausting and only serves to irritate me further as I just want to let down my guard.

Rejoice Always Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks. Pinterest

Understanding that these bouts have little to do with what I have or don’t have, situational circumstances, intelligence, character or strength seems so baffling to me. One would think after dealing with this issue for 5 decades that there would be some sort of resolution yet it continues.

Sometimes I feel so small and insignificant and I wonder if I really matter, if what I do really matters. Then in the midst of all the negative chatter I hear a whisper. It may be in the form of a phone call, email or a knock at the door but it’s the unmistakable intervention to bring me back from the brink.

I’m always telling people that I believe we are all interconnected and when something affects one of us it impacts us all. Reaching out to your lonely neighbor to ask them if they need anything, calling a life-long friend who recently suffered a devastating loss, sending a caring handwritten card to an estranged relative are ways that we can be the whisper answer to those in need.

Let your faith be bigger than your fear. Pinterest

My whisper was not an isolated event and it came over the course of several days in several different formats. The first was when I had a conversation with one of my neighbors, the second was during a sermon at a church service yesterday, the third was an email I received last night from one of the women I profiled during Fierce Fridays and the fourth (this one took me aback) was a call from my son who said a woman I haven’t seen in years wanted to connect with me because of a project that I worked on meant so much to her. Each of these encounters was unique and they were meant specifically for me. I do matter, what I do matters, I am significant and so are you.

Taking off my mask is more than a physical thing it necessitates laying bare my emotions and admitting my downfalls. It means I have to cleanse my mind on bended knee, refresh my spirit by submitting to the One who made me, exfoliate my burdens by giving them to Him, and saturate my soul with the life-giving message of His Word.

Though being human can be seemingly difficult, what with the constant barrage of conflicting messages in the media on self-improvement or how to do this, that or the other, worrying about if we measure up, facing critical judgment, the one thing we ALL have in common is we are human beings. We will never please all of the people all of the time and it’s senseless to even try but there is someone who loved us enough to lay down his life for us if only we choose Him.

Today’s post was on my heart and I really needed to write it because someone really needed to hear it. Next week I will let you know the outcome of my Skin Perfecting 1% BHA Lotion trial.

“Man is harder than rock and more fragile than an egg.” ~Yugoslav Proverb



2 thoughts on “Behind the Mask

  1. What an unexpected and highly personal/pertinent post for me to encounter today. I now know why I instinctively knew I had to follow you, even though my Reader is so full I told myself I should take a break from following people. Thank you so much for sharing this. I think our mother’s could have gone to the same school of “beauty.” Every year we sent out holiday cards, looking our best, with smiles plastered on our faces when home was anything BUT that. 8 years ago I began teaching teen girls about inner beauty with an organization called “Inside-Out Girls” and it was the most gratifying work I ever did. Sadly, when the economy went bad, I had to stop. I wish I (and other woman who were raised like we were) could all have a “Reveal Retreat” where we take off our “makeup” mask, our designer clothing and anything else we use to conceal our inner essence and let everyone see that we are enough (more than enough!) without all of that.
    Love this Stephanae!

    1. Hi Stephanie, yes I like the idea of a “Reveal Retreat.” Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about how hard it is to be a woman because we are expected to be perfect. Add to it the ridiculous, unrealistic expectations we pur on ourselves and it’s no wonder we’re so confused. With all of the distractions in today’s world I sometimes forget who I am and what’s really important. The reality checks help to keep me in check. Thank you for stopping by and commenting Steph, it’s no mistake that we share commonalities.

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