Burn The Masks

Somebody said something today about me which I felt was unfair and uncalled for. I won’t go into the details and it wasn’t a massive issue but for an instance I was tempted to give said person a piece of my mind. But only a small piece as I don’t have much to go round in the first place. How dare they speak to me like that. It wasn’t funny and as for the hypocrisy. Well don’t get me started.

It reminded me of a saying that my father used to quote when he recalled such scenarios.

So I said nothing and left him….lying there.

I’ve never thrown a punch in my life but if ever I was tempted to wipe the smug look of someone’s face today was an opportunity. But I said nothing, made my excuses and walked off.

I left him….standing there.

Much of our lives are spent hiding our true feelings. For many it is a full time occupation. We wear so many masks that sometimes it’s hard to remember who the real us is. We have more faces than Big Ben! Sometimes, like today, it was necessary to conceal what I really thought and zip my mouth shut when I wanted to let rip. Masks can act as shields, protecting us from the many arrows fired at us during this journey called life.

But what about the masks we wear online? I got into whole heaps of trouble online in a former life creating a misleading persona. I played a role and lived a fantasy life, with my head stuck in the sand like an ostrich as to what was going on in the real world. I hid online as opposed to facing up to my responsibilities. I let a lot of people down, including myself.

When this blog launched I made a promise that I would be myself. I would be brutally honest in my posts. Warts and all. No airbrushing. No sugar coated pills. When I assess the blog six months in I realise I have covered a lot of dark topics. I appreciate that these will not have been everybody’s cup of tea but I have kept to my word.

You have seen the real Stephen. The Good, The Bad and The Frequently Ugly. I have written about my faith and my issues regarding the organised church and some of its practices. I have written about my OCD and years of binge drinking. I have bored you all silly about my marathon training. And I have written about my family who, I am ashamed to say, didn’t really exist when I was on Twitter and Instagram.

I am me. This blog is a mask free zone. I have found WordPress an encouraging and supportive community where I can express myself and feel safe. I can breathe and walk, or rather type, with my head held high. No shame and no regrets. Sober words from a scarred, but honest, heart. WordPress has been an essential part in my recovery and renaissance. I have you all to thank for that.

Let’s build a funeral pyre and burn the many masks we wear. Let’s be ourselves and blog in freedom and in truth. Let our words shine like a beacon through the online darkness.

Do we see the real you online?

65 thoughts on “Burn The Masks

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  1. I agree that when you happen upon a healthy community here, it can be very supportive and encouraging of individuality. My former page that I closed in June had led me down a path that ended up very dark indeed. It wasn’t for me anymore. I stayed in the same place bit rebuilt from a clean slate. Im not convinced I was hiding then, more than I’ve grown by leaps and bounds now…I outgrew the page and I 100% outgrew my followers there. Which probably makes sense to you considering some of the scenarios you’ve described in your posts. ☺

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  2. A mask is a good descriptor of the dark falseness we all hide. In contrast, knowing one’s true self is experienced in open, authentic relationship – with God and others. Even so, it takes a lifetime to peel away false masks, and we never really get there because just when we think, “Ah, I’ve finally peeled off the last one,” we discover another layer. Actually, those discoveries make life pretty interesting.

    Thank you for sharing your journey of discovery. -C.D.

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  3. Aww, I love this post. I have to say, it’s taken several years to open up about the power of my faith and my relationship with Jesus in my life. My work shouts “you must be politically correct!”. And I want to be sensitive. Once I was asked to speak on a panel about confidence to be creative in the business world. I was very sensitive about being politically correct and left feeling like I missed an opportunity to share the truth about the depth of my faith in my work. Since then, I’ve slowly become braver about what I share personally and even post my little faith stories on LinkedIn now. Still haven’t figured out Twitter. Like I said in my last story, it’s the slow steady drip that begins to make an impression. 🙂 Thank you for connecting. So nice to meet you! Deb

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    1. I enjoyed reading your comment. I’ve always been very outspoken, but the professional world has curbed me down (which I don’t necessarily like 100%). Do you experience that some things are more PC than others? I mean, for example, it seems like it’s ok to talk about any religion BUT Christianity.

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    2. Hi Deb. I also find it hard to talk about my faith in the workplace. I often feel like Peter after the cock crowed. It is much easier for me to write about it and, even then, I could be more vocal. It’s great to meet you too 😊

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  4. You did the right thing, you did what is pleasing to God. You didn’t argue, or hurt anyone, even though they hurt you. You were a beacon of that bright Light. That my friend is a win. I show the real me but when people tell me I am kind, and sweet, I think where is this coming from? Who are they talking about? LOL I am as flawed as they come, I have an issue with patience, I have broken 11 of the 10 commandments. I could fill the page. I don’t hide it. I even express this in comments, and a few of the blog post that I wrote. I love God, I love my Saviour, I love reading God’s Word, posting the verses, reading, and commenting on others blogs but I express my true feelings.

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  5. See, this is something I keep wondering about. Why is it ok to not say something? Just to not hurt their feelings? Maybe saying something wouldn’t hurt their feelings. Maybe it would actually spark a conversations during which both parties might learn something. Maybe by saying something, we open their eyes to what they do wrong. Something they weren’t aware of. And in the end, we might save numerous other people, who might have otherwise fallen pray to that person’s insults?

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    1. Because God’s Word says so.

      Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.–Romans 12:21

      Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. –Romans 13:10,

      But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Mathew 5:24

      Am I the perfect example of this nope, but I am learning the more rely on God to fight my battle, the more triumphant, and HAPPY I am. The more I fight these battles it leaves me feeling the same way I felt before I “defended” myself.

      I pray I answered your question. God Bless you 🙂

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        1. I do not consider my self and apostle. I am aware of all the different theologies. I know different people believe different things. God has not called me to preach, teach, be a pastor, or prophet. I am His child. I should spread the good by being good, praying for others, and loving them. I am to believe with my heart and confess with my mouth Jesus as my Saviour. Who died for my sins and was resurrected by God. Amen. I am to love God with all my heart, mind and soul, and love my neighbour the same. Rather than speak my mind, no telling what that would lead to, I’ll pray to God. I have faith He will handle it. Praise God. God created everything, He doesn’t need my help. :):)

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          1. A quote I enjoy – Colossians 1:28
            “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.”
            I choose to be a witness and spread His glory outside of my room.
            No, He doesn’t need our help, but we are here for a purpose. To help our Brothers and Sisters.

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  6. It’s so tempting to wear a mask, to hide behind it and pretend to be different than we are. I can’t say I haven’t thought about it, but my biological father was a horrible human being who hid behind a mask of Christianity and wholesome values for all the years I knew him, and I refuse to be anything like him. Sometimes a stubborn disposition comes in handy 🙄

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  7. I would say, but could be wrong, you not retaliating was a good thing, not wearing a mask. To me, it is a mark of the Spirit and maturity not to answer back in anger or defending ourselves in anger. I think it is fine to defend ourselves without anger.

    Am I completely myself in my blog? I think I am honest and truthful with everything I write, but I doubt my whole self is there for everyone to see.

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  8. Wow – that’s a good question. Not sure I can answer that for many reasons.

    Is anyone ever really themselves – their true self? All the time? I think not likely. We are human and we want people to like us – it’s natural. So, we almost always put our “best” selves out there.

    Now, I’m no expert in the field of human behavior but I have seen a great many situations and a great many variations in human behavior. Having worked in the medical field as a Paramedic I’ve been in so many different situations with so many different people that I can say safely that we really only ever see parts of the real person.

    Depending on what your beliefs are – the only people who know the real “us” are God and our spouses – even spouses can be fooled some of the time. My two pennies for what they’re worth.

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  9. A massive amen to the burning of our masks dude! Thanks for being honest and your right about wordpress, its an awesome community. Excellent that you chose to walk away from a potential punch, in the end you would of probably been the one lying down with guilt. Takes great strength to not say anything at all. Thanks for sharing

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  10. I lay myself bare in my blog posts. I have to! It is the only way i can get my message across about what i am going through. I would not wish anyone to be in my position at this moment in time. Horribly dark and dangerous yet i cannot pull away from it…………..

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  11. I am glad to say, yes, people see the real me. It’s been amazing to see the outreach and connection from the community. I’ve found from those who misunderstand when I share weak moments God creates inspiration for me to write about the misunderstanding, that others relate to.

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  12. Thanks for your honesty. Real life is messy, and while I want my own blog to encourage and challenge believers, I also want to be honest that this life is hard. Though I am a private person, I felt God asking me to open up a little more than usual in my post today. And like you, I have no regrets about that. I am just hoping I find the wordpress community to be as encouraging as you have! I know I found a lot of encouragement for myself in this post.

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  13. Like you Stephen (and most of us), I had become quite adept at mask wearing. It was so tiring! I prefer the simple, plain me these days, with accompanying warts and all. I find it much easier to face myself in the mirror now!

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  14. Thank you for writing this. Most of my writing includes stories from my childhood that also reflect my adult experiences. I find the more I look at my story and tell it, the more free I become to be me. In real life and online. Sometimes the mask I wear is because I’m hiding from myself. Naming what is true has been so important for me. I want my authentic self to come through in my writing. Thanks again for your blog!

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  15. It seems like your skirting around the issue. What was it that got under your skin and why did you do nothing about it? I don’t mean to pry, it’s your life, but these would be my most pressing questions for the sake of growth.

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