There once was a place called Open Diary, there i was known as pain_behind_the_mask. When i wrote there i was trapped in a prison of my own making. I splattered my heart across the entries. I rattled the bars of my cage and cried out for anyone to see the truth that lived deep inside of me, that I was too afraid to show to those who thought they knew me. I let all of the skeletons out of the closet and pinned them up for someone to see, to know. I was so naive.  My mask that I thought was so indestructible had cracks in it that I refused to see.  Turns out I didn’t need to cover up the truth, it was too big to be covered. While I poured out my heart to strangers all over the world , the people closest to me watched as I crumbled and broke. I wasn’t fooling anyone. While I thought I had it all figured out, tell the strangers , hide from everyone else, I was only fooling myself . They saw , they guessed , and assumed. They just didn’t know how to help, how to reach out. Because I had spent so long shoving my mask of happiness , love,  acceptance,  and strength in their faces they didn’t know how to tell me that they saw the truth, that I was broken. Perhaps they sensed that if I knew that they could see everything that I had tried so hard to hide it would only make me feel more broken. Again I was so naive. Because now I see, I know that opening up, showing them my pain doesn’t diminish me. It strengthens me. It strengthens them. It strengthens us. By explaining that I have anxiety,  depression,  ptsd they now understand why I can’t always show up to a gathering,  or why I sometimes disappear into my house for days on end, why I sometimes show up after weeks looking worn and empty. Instead of guessing,  assuming, or worrying that I just don’t want to be around them, they now see that sometimes I just can’t be around them, that it is no reflection of them but a reflection of the turmoil inside of me. It helps them to understand me, and even better , sometimes it helps them to see that I understand them too. That they are not alone in their fears, phobias, neurosis,  and quirks.  By opening up to the people I love, I give them the opportunity to open up to me. Suddenly we are all a little less alone. I realized that I spent years giving the gift of truth to total strangers while denying that gift to the people I love the most. Denying them the opportunity to show me their truth. Because we are all a little broken and we are all afraid that our brokenness will frighten off those we love. But love cannot be dismissed because of a few cracks in a mask. If the love is real, then those cracks only make you more beautiful, more real, more true, more you. I am eternally grateful to pain_behind_the mask and to all of the strangers who walked beside me and cheered me on in my darkest hours. And I am going to continue to be learning_to_be_lonely,  I am going to continue to share my story with strangers but I will also share my story with my loved ones. I don’t want to hide anymore . My mask has slipped and I’m okay with that. 


3 thoughts on “Pain_behind_the_mask”

  1. good positive stuff. great that you’re being true to yourself and the people you love around you.

  2. So how are you doing now that the mask has slipped? When the mask slips it can take a lot to not put it on again.

  3. It’s scary knowing that your old excuses no longer work, that you can’t just paint on a smile and pretend that you are whole… But it’s also liberating in a way. Instead of spending all my time trying to pretend I’m okay, now I can put that effort into trying to heal so that someday I can honestly say ” I’m okay. ” and mean it.

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