wisdom

The Truth Beneath The Masks We Wear.

I am the queen of the masquerade, and embody the masks I hide behind.

I’ve lived my life through the rear-view mirror. My past a freak-show cast with violation and evil of the most inhumane kind. A life no one could possibly wish for, and one I hardly survived. Yet survive I did.

Survived by living in the shadow of my mask, my reality the smile that shone above the sinking, the facade so second-skinned that I often forgot I wore its face above a soul that lay shattered in the ruins around me. I lived and breathed my mask.

This costumed self the only acceptable face in the reflection of a family where speaking my truth was not only unacceptable, but a source of punishment and instant abandon. I carried the secrets of the family shame, I wore its stain upon my broken body and ruined soul.

The abuse I suffered was mine to own and to share its blame with the ones who caused it, not mine to barter in the non-existence of my worth. So I owned the mask.

Came to believe the lie that my life was full of light, while my soul was consumed by darkness. The family name held up to its honor, while my being broke down and began to decay.

I found myself confused by the paradox. If my life was so blessed and surroundings so perfect, then why were my thoughts obsessed with death, and why was the mask even then crumbling in the midst of my questioning? So I flipped a switch, and flung off my mask.

I bared my soul for the world to see, and became the darkness I carried, all light now buried beneath the pain that raged within my eyes. The world grew dim as I embraced my nothingness, abandoning the belief that I possessed anything of worth.

I became the all-encompassing wound of despair that had once been silenced beneath a tongue so tightly bound that it had ceased to speak. And I was the nothing I had once fought so hard to hide behind. This new mask took on my name.

And now I stand on the precipice between past and present. That razor line between the embers of sun’s last light that sink into the horizon, and the maw of the darkness that devours it. A choice to be made. A new mask to consider.

Am I really the child of history’s shadow, now a woman disguised beneath cloak of night? Or does a possibility exist that my unraveling heart may relax the walls of armored shield to allow for cracks of light?

Have I become so comfortable in my discomfort, so accustomed to dying in my daily living, that I now embody a midnight mask to replace the false cheeriness of my childhood’s plight? And what if I am not either or, but both, strands of black and gold that weave the web of my spider’s heart?

Can you flaunt the rainbow from red to purple, play music tones from A to G, and cycle the degrees from 0 to 180 in the daily living of your entirety? Must you own the mask of one or other, or in truth are we not the vast array of the both and all, once we delve into our nature?

I am coming to believe the whole of this as the crumbling of past and present turn black and white to shades of grey. A frightening thought. I know my role as a guardian of darkness, I’ve lived the betrayal as a guardian of light. What is this grey I speak of?

Can I walk the taut tightrope with white-knuckled courage, and bridge both extremes, to come home to the beauty of all of me that was birthed before the living?

This is, of course, the challenge. To stand in the sun, and with its first warming rays, turn my naked face towards it with an unblinking gaze, and smile in the knowing that I, in my truth, the woman-child of both dark and light, am all and more than enough.

***

ChameleonChildChameleon Child is a woman who has just begun to use pen and ink to emerge from the shadows of an oppressive past. Her words are the lamp by which she lights the path of a larger life. She enjoys watercolor painting, pencil crayons and coloring books, mystery thrillers and the company of those who make her laugh. Her loves? Two four-legged felines and a niece who is the light that shines her way. Her mentors — one whose wisdom offers its tools, another who carries her heart — the reflections of her truth, and the ones who guide her healing.

***

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