Masks II

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I’m a coward. Oh, I’m full of big talk when other people need my help, ask my opinion, or just need a good shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen, but when it comes to letting people know me? Not the top layer, but the real me that lies deep below the surface? Oh, no, I can’t let people get to know the real me. What will they think? Will they like this me? Hell, most of the time I don’t like that me, why would I ever think someone else would? I keep her hidden under so many masks that make up small parts of me…

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I know that the different masks that I hide behind are all parts of me, little snippets that I share here and there when I am finally comfortable enough with someone to let them in. I have a mask that I wear for my family, it’s one that is supposed to remain strong, that hides the fears and sorrows that I don’t want to share. This mask is made of a thick clay. It has survived so much, but like anything else, with time it has begun to crack, and I fear what will happen if it one day falls apart.

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Another mask that I wear, one that more people are getting to see and know, is my mask of creativity. Again, those damn insecurities about my writing, my singing, my expressionism, they hide behind a mask that is thin, like fine china, where you can see the light shining through it. It wouldn’t take much to break that one.

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The top most mask is the one I share with everyone. Only a select few get beneath this one. It is my shield. My line of defense against everything that comes at me. It holds truths about me, but it guards so many more. 9d31cb97bb2b71021afba95b798e41b2

How do I decide who to share the truth with? Oddly enough, the anonymity of this blog has been the most telling and revealing of the real, raw me there is. Its in writing this that I am trying to love myself. I remember writing enough blog post about masks over a year ago, and when I was rereading it just now, its odd to see how little has changed, and what masks I still hide behind. You can read that earlier post here. I try to face the darkness that hides in me, facing it dead on , and sharing it.

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How Do You See Things?

You know how sometimes you are so… off keel, that no matter how hard you try, nothing ever seems to work the right way? Nothing anyone says to you helps, in fact it only serves to push you closer to the edge of screaming than before? No matter how hard you try to get everything on your to-do list done, but so many other people or things force their way to the top of your list, to the point that, at the end of the day you feel like the white rabbit in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland saying, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get?” What if all it takes to get through those times is a new perspective?

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It took a moment of honest truth from a friend to make me realize that what I’m seeing might not be what’s really going on. Is it possible that I’m misinterpreting everything? Okay, yes, its very possible. But the realization is not without cost because now I have to remind myself that,  what I hear is not necessarily what is being said. It’s like trying to break a bad habit in myself… A near impossible feat.

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An artist can create perspective with the slash of a pencil, charcoal, or brush, changing how we see something, making it seem farther away, or nearer than it actually is. If you let things build higher and higher in your mind, eventually it’s going to topple like the tower in the game Jenga, and when it topples, it’ll take you with it. Its time to step back and look at it again with that new perspective, Its time to take control of your own life again.

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What is YOUR value?

Several months ago, after a particularly emotional day of thinking, I wrote a post about the value of me. I honestly never gave it much thought again after that post, it succeeded in opening my own eyes a little bit more about myself, was therapeutic, and then I was done with it. It was off my radar like the swipe of an eraser on a white board. For, well, I was going to say “whatever reason” but that’s not accurate, I’m just not entirely sure of the reason, that post popped into my head last night after listening to a friend who had had a particularly bad day at work and home.

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This friend is always there for everyone at work, listening to them, appreciating them, valuing everyone at work… Yesterday, however, she left work at the end of the day feeling like a failure, so beat down, under appreciated, and completely unvalued.

Let me tell you something, whether I know you or not. Whether I know everything you are facing in life or not. You are important. There is a reason you were put on Earth, sometimes we never know that reason ourselves, but I guarantee someone does.

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Value is defined as the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

In our lives, in the end, what really matters? Is it the amount of money you made, or saved? No. Its, in my opinion, the lives that you touched, the hearts that you affected. That is the purpose of everyone. The people who love you, even at what you think is your worst… Everything about you matters. It’s unique. You matter.

Is it scary to feel unvalued? Unappreciated? To feel like you can’t face another day of the same ‘ole, same ‘ole? Hell, yes! But you are strong enough, you may just need to dig a little deeper sometimes to tap into that strength.

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Just promise me, no matter how hard the battle, how deep the fear; no matter how bad the day, always remember at least one person who loves you for you. The important, appreciated, beautiful, valued you.

364 Days

Dear Mom,

It’s been a year without you now. People are right, grieving does get easier with time. I have quit reaching for the phone to call you whenever something good, funny, sad, or frustrating happens in my life. I know that you’re not going to be there on the other end of the phone anymore, a habit that took me months to break.  I know that the last thing you would have wanted was for me and Dad to stop living, and to be honest, for a while we did. It took several months for us to start living again in stages.

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My first step was quitting the job that had ceased to make me happy, the one that was slowly draining the life from me. I am so much happier with my current job, and making slow and steady progress there. It had been too long since I was happy with myself at work.

My second step was following one of my dreams and writing a book; I hope to God I’m not done with writing yet…

The third step was travel. I finally made it to Ireland, and fell in love with a country and its people. I am ready to go back tomorrow if I could…

The fourth step was letting Daddy know that its okay to live, to create new memories and (hopefully) make new friends, try new things.

While this year has been a challenge of adjusting to the new reality, I did it, and I know you’d be happy for it.

I miss you. I love you.

–Me

 

Cheers for 2015!

I did it. I have blown the sides of my comfortable little box wide open. I ended last year with the release of my first book, a novella that, while not a best seller, I can take pride in the fact that I wrote my first book, and am currently working on another two.

Beyond that, and wow, is that crazy for me to even say?!, is that I have followed a dream and travelled to Ireland. I’m actually sitting in the hotel pub! My holiday here ends on Tuesday before I venture into London and then onto France to visit with my brother and his family.

I wrote back in June (Really? That long ago??) that I was going to start living boldly (you can read about it here). I gave a list of things that I wanted to accomplish, and while I never made it to the dance classes, I did make it out of the country. This is, in my mind, a much bigger leap in the “live boldly” pool.

What can I try and challenge myself with this year? Of course theres the obligatory “lose weight,” “exercise more,” “Get healthy,” routine that I pledge to do every year, but never get around to doing… Maybe a bit of reverse psychology is needed? This year I resolve to do nothing healthy, eat pure crap and laze around all the time?

This year I will try to respect myself more. I am who I am, nothing more, nothing less. I can’t expect people to like me if I don’t like myself. How can I like myself if I don’t respect myself?

This year I’m going to do at least three things that will better me. Maybe learn something? Train for, and complete, something? I don’t know, but it has to be three things.

This year I’m going to be a better Mom, and a better daughter. I let the events of early last year control so much of my time. It’s been almost a year; it’s time to move on.

I’m sure there’re more things that will pop into my brain as the year goes; we’ll see what happens in 2015.