A while ago I noticed a difference in the way I act OUTSIDE the house vs. INSIDE the house. Sometimes the change occurs the minute I step through the door. Did I lose the caring, attentive, playful mom at the playgroup? Did I leave that Anna in the van? Where did she go? And where did this impatient, irritable, frustrated Anna come from? I don’t remember bringing HER home! Which one is the real me and which one is the mask?
This was not a realization I wanted to come to. I don’t want to know that sometimes I am one person to the rest of the world and another to my family – the former being the “nice” Anna.
So I’m trying to take off my mask. It takes way too much emotional energy to maintain the facade. I’m trying to be real, just be myself. And that’s just too bad if I’m not a perfect mother, if my eating habits aren’t stellar, and if I’m not a social butterfly.
As I remove the mask and come face-to-face with who I am vs. who I present to the world, I find there are actually a lot of similarities. I really am a good mother, I eat pretty healthy and I’m not quite as shy as I thought I was. I make lots of mistakes in front of other people now and try my best not to worry about it.
A lot of my motivation has changed. Wearing the mask always motivated me to act according to how I wanted others to see me. Taking the mask off motivates me to act according to how I want to see myself. I strive to be the same person in front of a group of people or at home with my husband and kids.
It’s very freeing – being real. Sure I have to work on a few things, but the mask wasn’t hiding as much as I thought it was. And when I come home, and step inside my house, I hang my coat on a hook and realize I don’t need a hook for my mask anymore. I can clear out the emotional space I used to save for the mask and use it for the ones who need it most – my family.