Wearing a mask is a beautiful thing until the moment dawns on you that taking it off is a lot harder than putting it on. I had been wearing a mask for ten years before realizing it had begun to adhere to my face and to disintegrate the identity it hid.
The sad part was that everyone had grown to like the person I was with it on much better than the person I was beneath it. It hurt to know that who I truly was was never enough... that I had to wear a mask and play a part in order to be accepted.
The question was, was I content to be what others wanted me to be, just to belong in a group, or would I be happier ridding myself of the mask and being free to express myself fully and uniquely? There were consequences to be considered, either way.
So I decided to take the middle route for now. Discarding the wooden, unnatural mask I wore every day, I carved a new one with interlocking parts and one that was audaciously half the size of its predecessor. It was a half-mask that restricted yet freed. But would it work? I was
game to try it out. I strode out onto the stage and announced my lines as I usually did, but the sound of my voice was amplified even more than usual. I could see reactions not just among the audience members in the first few rows, but the people sitting higher up. I was heard!
with a flourish I went back stage. My heart still jumping through my chest like after every performance but this one I knew was so very different. I saw myself in the mirror and found something new. For the first time
I liked what I saw. I set my mask down at my vanity and buried my face in my sweaty hands and listened to the muffled screams of a stadium full of fans. Fans who traveled from distant corners of the world to see me, hear me. I turned off the lights in my dressing room and cried.