The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask (Alan Watts).
As a woman – how many masks do you wear? The “mother” mask, the “wife” mask, the worthy “daughter” mask, the acceptable “corporate female” mask, the “supportive” sister mask and off course the “just give me a drink” friend mask. The wearing of these masks has become what is referred to as “normal”. What, however, is this normality everyone keeps referring to?
Could it be a state in which all people suffer from similar delusions and limitations condoned by their society? As long as you don’t stand out from the accepted “normal” all is well and you remain accepted.
Whether this “normal” requires a daily sacrifice of your true self is never questioned.
Who do you say you are?
Who do you say you? How do you describe yourself? How are you introduced?
I ask these questions because the female archetype has always had to show up in a manner that required acceptance by the society of the day. In the past most woman gave up their name and became someones wife, a Mrs “someone”, someones property and this loss of identity, as subtle as it may seem, has far reaching consequences.
Unfortunately many woman today have a hole inside of them, and if they stop for long enough to feel their way around this hole, they will find that it is the approximate shape of their essential self. The self they were born to be, the lover, the mother, the daughter and wild woman unapologetically living her truth and passionately singing her song as she dances through life. Sometimes she is shouting her song as she struggles with life – be it singing or shouting, she liberates her essential self.
The masks you wear are composed one word at time, each word contributing to the mask. One for every occasion, ensuring that you are at all times pleasing and fulfilling the role you have described for years perfectly.
I often ask people what their purpose is and most women who have children will answer “to be a good mother”. Off course I understand that this is one of the things any mother would wish to be. unfortunately far too often though, this is all they focus on and when the children leave home they are hit by the fact that they no longer know who they are.
What do you sacrifice to be who you believe you are required to be? Why do you believe that without the mask you would simply not be enough? Where were you taught about the masks required to be worthy? As you cast your mind back you may recall words such as ” that is how a wife behaves, that is what is expected in our society, that is what is expected from a mother, that is how a woman in the corporate should show up” and on it goes. Off course none of these words were maliciously spoken, it was simply what society condoned, in fact, it was silently insisted upon, sometimes most strongly, in words unspoken.
Before you notice your are telling your daughter how things should be, how a lady behaves, how a daughter, sister or wife shows up and one word at a time the mask gets formed. Are your intentions malicious? Off course not. You want her to fit in and not be so different that she will suffer ridicule, your gentle intentions often becoming her well furnished prison.
The interesting thing about these masks is that most of us have been wearing them for so long, they have almost become one with our true identity, almost going unnoticed, until that silent moment when you hear the calling, the dream you surrendered, the song left unsung. It is a silent longing, a whisper so gentle that you barely hear it in the middle of the night when it’s just you and your thoughts.
Shake it off
Remember that only when you require no approval from outside yourself can you own yourself without the masks. When you accept that the beliefs and experiences of others are not the only truths by which to live.
Todays challenge is the culturally preferred way of making sure that woman do not wake up. The expectations of woman to be perfect mothers, attractive wives, driven from a career perspective, the best chefs, great home makers and the best part planners keep them perpetually exhausted with all this constant activity. Endless work, feelings of being over whelmed and continually doing. Seldom is there a moment of silence. Very little rest. tiered woman cannot wake up, they do not have the energy for it. They cannot even fathom it as a possibility.
Shake it off, leave those masks behind for just a moment, and fall in love with all your are. The beauty of your essential self, the self who is also a mother, a lover , a daughter and a colleague – one that no longer requires the masks. Knowing that you are capable of all things because you have truly seen yourself.
Beyond the acceptable masks, the ones that serve everyone else, awaits your greater destiny: total freedom.
Who are you when you are not being you?