Controlling the Walls Inside

I feel like I am pretty good at controlling the walls inside.

What I mean by this, is that I show you who I want you to see. 

Which can be rather stifling at times.

My friend April shared on her blog this week about The Integration of Self.

Part of what she shared was this:

we all have our collection of masks that we carry around with us.
some we are unaware of, like when something unexpected catches us by surprise.
others we spend time perfecting, like when we put on a “brave face.”
is what’s beneath your visage a consolidated self that you recognize?
or are you a divided personality,
struggling to make sense of your surroundings and your place in them?

I feel like I control a lot of the faces people see in my life.

If I am comfortable, I have the relaxed face.  When I am relaxed, I can drop my guard a little more, and people who I feel relaxed around may see more of me than others.

When I am unsure of myself and my surrounding, that is when I really need to control the walls.  I don't want to mess up.  I don't want to take a misstep.  But, I'm probably very boring and uninteresting while in this state.  Not many people really know me when I get really controlling.

If I need to be the one in control of the situation, I try and make people feel comfortable.  I laugh, I tell jokes, and I try and see if people want to hear something funny, or a more serious tone is needed in the room at the time.

I have many masks I wear in my life.  I realize that it is hard for me at times to quit controlling the situation, and just let life happen.  But I have trained myself to control.  And this training can be detrimental. 

I want to be more spontaneous.  I want to get rid of the script at times. 

Maybe I want my life to me more of an improv show, than a carefully scripted drama.

But I've never felt like I was that good at improvisation.

But give me a well written script, and I'll put everything I've got into bringing that character to life.

I was talking to a friend today about turning 50, and how there can be negative things about this milestone in our live.

But there are also some really great positives, such as having friends you have known for over 40 years who love you and accept you for who you are, and you don't have to keep the masks on for them, or build up the walls.  You can revert back to that 10-year-old who was just starting to build the walls and wear the masks.  Having friends like this is very freeing.

Another part of turning 50 is allowing even more freedom to people I am around every day.  By this time, I have figured some things out about who I am, what I believe, and what is important to me.  So why try and hide who I am.  I don't need to please everyone.  I don't need to make everyone happy.  I have my friends who will not go away.  I don't need to try and be someone else.  That is what the stage is for.....to act out the characters.  But in real life, I need to be the real me.

Turning 50 has somehow given me permission to be my real self.

So I am ready to start tearing down the walls, even when I'm in an uncomfortable situation.

I am ready to limit the use of the masks in my life. 

Oh, the walls won't totally go away.  The masks will always be close by to grab onto if needed.

But I hope I will be less and less reliant on them as I move forward into the next 50 years of my life.


april said...

love this. and you.

Christy Woolum said...

When I first began therapy Donna explained to me the term "Mask Depression". This is exactly what you have described from my point of view. It does drain you. What is hard is the people who see your real self. Sometimes without those masks it can be difficult.