I feel like I should be a superhero. And not because I have any special talents, gifts or superpowers. It is because for the past 25 years, just like Batman, Spiderman and The Incredibles, I have been wearing a mask day in and day out to hide my secret identity.
That secret identity was the REAL ME.
People wear many different types of masks for a variety of reasons. I believe people begin wearing their mask to hide something they don’t want the world to see, or cover up a weakness, or maybe just to survive. There are many reasons, and for every reason there is a mask to help cover it up. Here are a few:
I’m Under Control
There are many more, but I think you get the hint.
But the mask I wore (and maybe the most common mask) was the “I’m Ok” mask. This had been my catch cry for 25 years. If any one ever asked, “How are you?”, “How have you been?” or “How ya feeling?”, my standard answer was ALWAYS…
For me at least, it was a reflex. A go to answer when you don’t want to expose the truth about yourself. The two words I used because I didn’t want people to see straight through me and see me for the fraud I was are. What I learned recently was the mask was the fraud and underneath I was the genuine article - warts and all.
And it wasn’t just the words I said, it was also what I did and how I acted. My whole image was “I’m Ok!”. This mask encompassed my entire persona. I hid my true self and my truth behind that mask.
And let me tell you, I was GOOOOD at wearing it. No one knew who was truly behind my mask. Even as recently as a month ago we were talking to some very close friends about how my life had turned around and my depression had virtually disappeared.
They were shocked and astonished. Firstly, that I had suffered from depression at all. And secondly, they thought there were no signs. They might not have seen them, but there were probably signs (maybe they just didn’t look closely enough to see them…but then again, like I said, I was very good at wearing my mask). Maybe we all just have to be a little more aware that people do wear masks.
Like I mentioned earlier, I feel like I no longer suffer from depression. The black cloud that use to hover over my right shoulder seems as though it has disappeared. But like any recovering alcoholic or addict I am very aware that I have to be diligent not to let the “black dog” sneak up behind me and just settle at my feet.
Now when people ask me “How are you?”, “Are you Ok?” I no longer reply with a casual “Yeah, I’m Ok.”.
Now I tell them the truth. “I really good actually”, “I’m great”, “Actually I feel like shit”, “I feel a little flat today”. All valid, descriptive and more importantly, all very true responses.
And it is very good to check in with yourself to actually feel how you really are at any given moment. And as I sit here finishing this third blog, I feel….
Tired, excited (to see my wife as she has been away few a few days), sore (back), relaxed, proud (helping a friend tonight) and very content.
So, how are you really feeling right at this moment. Stop. Check in with you NOW.
Now share your real truth with your friends and family. They will love and respect you and your honesty even more.