𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝗺𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗼𝗳 𝘂𝘀 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘄𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗺𝗮𝘀𝗸𝘀 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝗯𝗲𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗺𝗶𝗰? The ‘Perfect Mom’ mask, the ‘Successful Business Person’ mask, or the ‘I Got It All Together’ masks…Almost everyone wears some sort of mask.
One woman shares her story—
It’s Time To Take Off The Mask by Faith in the Mess – Melissa Neeb, Writer
I wear a cloth mask everywhere now. It doesn’t really bother me.
What did bother me was the metaphorical one I wore for years. I wore a smile but it was a lie.
No one knew the pain I was in. It was difficult to even admit it to myself. I stuffed it down. Locked it up tight in my heart.
It was my box of darkness. Only mine.
So in the world, I pretended. I faked it. I told everyone I was fine. I was ok. I was good.
Those masks, layers of them, kept my secrets and tears hidden. I hated who I had become but I didn’t know who to be anymore.
I came to the end of myself, the edge of the proverbial cliff. Dangling. Desperate. Alone.
Then I walked into a room and sat down with a bunch of strangers who could see the face behind the mask because they recognized the pain. They had worn it themselves. They had put it down and left it behind.
So slowly, my masks came off. One by one. Ever so carefully.
I didn’t have to be afraid of my reflection anymore. I could change. Grow. Transform into something I never imagined.
I could learn to love myself again.
And so, my smile turned real.
I was accepted. I was welcome here.
And so my masks stayed off.
And I never want to wear them again.
Melissa Neeb is a Minnesota native and lover of nature, WW2 memoirs, rescue dogs, photography, and thrifting. Melissa and her husband have two teenagers who are the great loves of her life. She is passionate about advocating for addiction recovery, writing about parenting, life, faith, and everything in between. You can read more by Melissa at Faith in the Mess