As a kid I wasn’t allowed to do Halloween. It is one of the holidays that now as an adult, I make sure to enjoy – and encourage my children to as well. There is something freeing about dressing up and becoming someone or something else. Standing out of your own persona and taking on that of whatever you choose can free you from being “you” and all of the stressors that come with life.
But often we wear masks when we aren’t in costume to remove us from something we don’t like about ourselves or our circumstances (either past or present). When we hide behind layers so that people don’t see who we really are, we aren’t allowing ourselves to live authentically.
Living in a social media world, we are afforded the ability to present to others only what we want them to see; when we remove some of our humanity, often this alludes to a perfect life. But we end up hurting others and ourselves in the process by ostracizing ourselves from even those who may have shared similar journeys and barriers.
With movements like “#metoo,” we allow people into our lives, peeling back the mask of our past and present little by little. Being authentic allows us to be human and gives others the grace and mercy to be human with us. When we live in authenticity, we open the door for empathy and compassion for ourselves and others like us. Of course there are times, dependent on people and surroundings, that we may chose to keep certain things private.
What masks are you wearing? Are you struggling with a deployment, but presenting to the world that everything is copacetic? Are you unsure about how to parent your teenager because the world today is some much different than the world we grew up in? Did you just PCS and can’t find employment, but showcasing to the world that it’ll give you time to build your resume further? I don’t mean to say to be pessimistic, I want you to be a realist. But be a realist with others that are living the same reality as you. This authentic sharing will provide all the ability to feel less judged and to find answers that might surround you that you have never seen before.
As we encroach on Halloween, wear your mask; become someone or something exciting and fun. But don’t forget to remove the mask of circumstance and trick-or-treat through life with your peers.