UNVEILING THE MASK

“If you want to say something and have people listen then you have to wear a mask. If you want to be honest then you have to live a lie.”  Bansky

Even as  small child I knew people wore different masks and I noticed hardly anyone came to the table barefaced.  Seeing through people is something I’ve been able to do my whole life and believe me when I tell you it’s not always a blessing.  The problem with seeing through the mask is that most of the people around you don’t and you become the problem if you don’t accept their reality.  It’s taken me years to sort through the chaos and learn to live according to my core values without exposing my inner thoughts.  Friendships can be hard for me because if I am your friend, I am your friend to the core and if you ask me my opinion, I will tell you the truth, not what I think you want to hear.  Consequently, I’ve lost friendships only to realize the friendship wasn’t really true and honest and I knew that from the beginning.   On the flip side, I’ve gained a few lifetime friendships that no matter what has happened our friendships  survived.  Some of these life friends I don’t see anymore due to miles or family situations but when we do see each other, it’s like no time has passed.  I cherish those connections and I truly believe if you only experience one true friendship in a lifetime, it is healthier than experiencing 20 masked friendships.

My home is my retreat and I have a fairly simplistic approach to decorating and creating my space.  I don’t like clutter, yet I’ve had to accept clutter living with two teenage boys, my husband and mother-in-law.  They carry a lot of emotional baggage right now and it shows up in their clutter.  My husband likes to buy gifts and he finds it frustrating when I tell him I just need his love and I don’t need his gifts.  Drew shows his love but he needs to express his love in the form of a gift.  Society has done that to men and woman, makes them think that if you don’t get the biggest diamond, the biggest and best gift that somehow your mate doesn’t love you enough.  I cut right through all of that bullshit and simply live my life in expressions, actions and words.  I don’t need the biggest diamond, as a matter of fact I really don’t care for diamonds, and I don’t need to be showered with gifts to know that my husband loves me.  However, I’ve come to realize that even though I feel this way, people have to be free to express their love in their way.

Early into our marriage I discovered that I loved willow tree figurines.  My husband was thrilled because it meant he could buy me something that had meaning and an expression of his love for me.  My fondness for the figurines surprised me because it meant that I would be putting knick knacks on a shelf – something I don’t do.  True to my husband’s generous nature, my shelves are full of willow tree.  A few years ago at Christmas, I saw the willow tree nativity set and I absolutely adored it.  That Christmas  Drew purchased the entire set for me and to be honest if I had my way the willow tree nativity scene would be the only Christmas decoration I would display every Christmas.  The tree and the rest of the decorations we have, I display for my family.

Somehow the subject of nativity scenes came up in conversation with someone at work and I told her about the willow tree nativity scene.  She blurted out “willow tree that set is ridiculous, they have no face, the figurines creep me out.”  I was a little taken back because the no face is what the willow tree figurines are popular for, they  lack identity  yet each figure has this enchanting presence.  I realized right then and there why I love those figurines, they are barefaced, there is no mask to hide behind.  No obvious beautiful features, no trademark cheekbones, nose, forehead,  or eyebrows.  All the features society looks for that are considered acceptable beauty.  None of those traditional lines grace willow tree figurines,  yet  when I first discovered willow tree I thought the detail and lines were brilliant.   Somehow no face just added to the beauty and imagination.  The angels felt wholesome and true to me and I felt that the traditional figures had a fake sense of reality because the faces had to look like models to be marketable.

Unfortunately, the lady I was talking to would not be able to see the beauty because not only does she wear a mask, she is only comfortable with people who wear masks.  Somewhere at her core, I can feel she is striving to live without the mask but she is simply unable to do so at this time and I think the fact that these figurines have the audacity to go barefaced, in her words, creeps her out.  Interesting to me because I know during some of our conversations, I sense that  I creep her out,  as I can feel how uncomfortable she is with my barefaced manner.  My quest to live truths has been  lonely at times and I’ve had to grin and bare it to be accepted in some circles and to me that just feels like  a lie because I  believe in coming to the table barefaced.

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