Behind the Scenes: The Mask is the Lie


Finding Transparency 

A year ago I was facing a lot of anxiety. It was a time in my life where a lot of things were up in the air and I wasn't feeling stable or grounded. I had reached a breaking point; knowing if I were to continue on the same path I've been facing, it would not only be self-destructive, but unfair to a lot of very important people in my life. I wrote this passage to myself to express my feelings during this time. A metaphorical description to where I was mentally. It felt like I'd hit a wall, so I made a promise to myself to take control of the situation the way I wanted to and stop feeling so captured with the mainstream views on society and on the outlooks of what others viewed as "generally accepted." or "okay."

We're always learning. Each day brings something new to us and little by little, we are shaped by each of these facts and experiences. So, what happens when you learn or feel something new or different about yourself? Well, first your heart races. You're flushed and your stomach flips. You ask yourself, "Is this way I feel okay?" So, we adapt how we face these feelings internally before shining a light on the topic to the world. To gain our perspective first and not base the opinion of others on how you should feel about yourself. 

Years ago I looked at myself in the mirror after wiping the steam off of the glass, and for the first time I said to myself, "I'm gay." I felt so uncomfortable uttering those words and it made me feel like I was less of a person. I felt degraded because I cared too much about the opinions of others. I based my feelings greatly on the negatives I've seen out in the world about people who are different or coming-out horror stories. I didn't feel like I should feel like a victim of anything because I didn't do anything wrong, but here I was, feeling like I did. I felt like I couldn't be myself around others, so I was frequently overthinking a lot of my actions on a daily basis. Excluding myself from situations and anything leading to clues based on how I identified myself because of my own fears and insecurities. 

This went on for years. I told myself I was fine with hiding that part of myself from myself and the rest of the world, but it just became more difficult over time. For me, there was never a pivotal moment where I knew 100% how to identify myself as gay or not. Some part of me just thought I was curious or if it was just a phase, but my irrational fears took the better hold of me, so I stuffed myself internally on all of these heavy weighing thoughts. I think some part of me has always known. I just cared far too much what people would think. 

The mask is the lie and I've worn it for years. I am a lot more open now with myself about my feelings. It's not something that happened overnight, but I'm so much happier now being honest with the world and more importantly, myself. I'm not a different person because of this, I'm the same personal as I always was. Now people just know one more thing about me. I'm more comfortable with myself and I don't have to live everyday second guessing my actions or care of what others think. At the end of the day I can tell myself I'm proud of who I am and no one can twist that in a negative way for me anymore. 

When taking the step to come out to someone close to you in your life, you at first hesitate because what comes to mind is a worst-case scenario situation. You'd rather hold it all in than risk the relationship you cherish with the person you're confiding in. It's that fear that held me and pushed me down for years.

In hindsight, I'd wish I had done something about it sooner because I hated the way I felt about myself for so long and I'm never going to put myself through anything like that again. You're never going to make everyone you ever meet happy, and you have zero obligation to. You have to put yourself first before caring about the opposing views that are flowing out their in the world based on who considers what to be right or wrong with who someone falls in love with. Love is love. Love yourself. You can't love another without first loving yourself for who you are.