Costume parties are so fun!
There’s something about a costume that frees inhibitions and ignites charisma. Something that allows us to break the norms of etiquette and everyday living. Somehow it’s OK to play the fool or release our alter-ego. It’s OK because we can say, “It’s not really me”. We feel safe to display the wild-side of our personality because we have a mask to hide behind. Safe to even be our real-self because we can simply cast it off if it seems unacceptable.
We don’t have the same luxury in our everyday life. Even though we may wear an everyday mask, it’s different than the costume party mask because we’re saying, “This is really me”.
But the party-mask and the everyday-mask are the same in that they are both just a facade.
Or are they?…
The costume party-mask may actually be less of an act than the everyday-mask- as the everyday mask tries to look real, but is actually less authentic than the party-mask. At least the costume party-mask is not afraid to break-out with the spirit of our real persona.
This costume-mask seems to enable our genuine-self to step-out further than our everyday-mask would allow. This is what makes costume parties such a great opportunity to really get to know someone.
Taking Off The Mask
One day I challenged myself to be that same person I was at the costume party, but without the costume and without the party. Yes, that same person with no inhibitions, no fears- but without the mask to hide under. To actually be that same person in everyday life with no mask- no costume.
To even allow my alter-ego to make decisions that I would normally be too frightened to make. To boldly step-out and do what I really want to do- and what I really need to do, despite the snickering and scoffing of those around me. Breaking the mold was a radical thing for me to do, but suddenly I realized how free I was.
Subsequently, I sadly realized how stuck most people are. I didn’t want to be stuck like that again; In fact, just the thought of it made me sick and it frightened me more than anything I feared before. Prior to that, I was too afraid to step-out, but once I did, I was much too afraid to go back.
“Afraid” may not be the best way to say it- it was just that I valued my new-found freedom so much that I just couldn’t fathom trading it in for a fake “image” that was dictated by the limited standards and unrealistic expectations of others. It was a true scenario of utter slavery and it became a picture of horror that I desperately sought to escape and run far away from.
So I set-out to find others that made the same move, though they are far and few. But those few are like a walking well-spring of life.
So why do so many of us wear masks?
Why do we limit ourselves and hide in a confinement?
How do we keep up this image without losing our soul?
What are we so afraid of that’s worse than the bondage we live in?
And what is it that keeps us from living a richer and fuller life?
I think it can be summed-up in one word:
Fear of the unknown. Fear of rejection. Fear of failing. Fear of responsibility. Fear of opposition. Fear of change. Fear of what others think. Fear of loss. Fear of hurt. Fear of taking off the mask. There is so much fear!
How do we overcome the fear-factor?
Remember how bold you were at the costume party? How likely you were able to break-out in a way that you would normally be too afraid?…
Just be like that. Be like that, but without the costume party; Be like you were when you first took the training-wheels off your bicycle. Be like your alter-ego and just go-for-it! Be like you are in your dreams and charge-it!
Be the way you would be if you were about to die and had nothing to lose but one chance of surviving by jumping into the ocean from a 300 foot high cliff.
The fact is, is that your going to die sooner or later anyway, and most people, before they die, are only halfway alive at best- or living like an enslaved zombie at worst.
What if my worst fears are realized?
Hmmm, the big “What if ?”. This is the prelude for many-a fine excuses. But just for a goof, lets play along:
So what if ? What if I get in over my head? What if people don’t accept me? What if I fail? What if I get hurt? What if I lose? What if ? What if ?…
You will! You will get in over our head. You will be unacceptable to certain people. You will fall. You will fail. You will get hurt. You will lose. You will!
But these things happen no matter what. Even when we go to such great lengths to avoid it; even when we enslave ourselves and live a lie, we will still get overwhelmed; We will still be unaccepted, mocked and criticized by others. We will still fall and fail and lose and get hurt. We just will!
It’s just part of life and even when we hide in our “safe-haven” to minimize this, we still are losing; we are not fully living- not in freedom anyway; Not in exuberance, and certainly not in abundance.
So if, no matter what, we’re still going to fall and take our lumps- and people will still laugh at us anyway, we may as well be real and be free and have fun doing it! Breaking the bonds and charging out into the storms of life will ultimately lead to a greater life even though we do get hurt along the way.
Making Peace with ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ of Our Life
As I reflect and think about the adversities of my endeavors and how overwhelmed I was on many occasions; how many searing insults and injuries I endured; the subtle and not so subtle opposition; the monumental failures and grave misfortunes; I think about these things with little regret because I know it is only by those experiences that I have really learned and really grown.
Through it all, I achieved and succeeded. Despite my losses, I have ultimately gained. In spite of my failures, I have triumphed! No matter what, I can say, “I have truly lived!”. And I still am truly living! Living in confidence; living in authentic-freedom and living with an air of abundance.
Only because I keep my faith and never give up. When I fall- I get up. And when I fall again- I get up again. I always get up and press-on no matter what! Heck, before it’s all said and done, I may lose a few limbs or something, but I will still keep going.
Quitting is just not an option for me. Quitting means surrendering to a life of slavery and meaningless existence. Quitting means being only half-alive at best- and I would rather be all-alive or not at all-
all or nothing. (That’s just me)
-How about you? Are you fully living? If so, keep swinging and never give up!
If not, then ask yourself,
“Do I really want to go through the rest of my existence without really living?”
Real life begins by taking off the mask and being authentic.
It’s your life, you decide. As for me, I will live the life God gave me to the fullest- through time and eternity!
“Every man dies… but not every man really lives”
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