To mask or not to mask, that is the question—and I’m tired of putting a face on.
I’m tired of smiling. I’m tired of being someone I’m not. But how do I stop playing small?
How do I start to feel safe in expressing my true self?
I’ve laid a trap for myself without even knowing it. I wore a mask in my life, and now it fits. I squeezed myself into society’s tiny box of expectations, and now I’m stuck.
I told myself this way of life would do, and it did…until it didn’t anymore.
Living a lie became painful. The price of playing small, locking my voice away, was paid by losing my joy and freedom. My soul was screaming to be freed.
How do I free myself from the prison I’ve created? How do I unstick myself? How do I find my freedom?
The price of fitting in and playing small is high—and it is exhausting.
I wonder if the price I’ve paid to be normal (just as the other good Indian girls did) is too high?
I was paying this price when I decided in 2017 to go down a conventional path. I ignored my skills and my passions. My dreams felt like a distant fairy tale not available to the likes of me.
How do I get out of this box I put myself in? The box which has become my life?
Anger, that’s what I feel.
The mask slips when I am triggered by something small—it could be as little as a petty remark by someone. I feel slighted, misunderstood, and like the only sane voice in a sea of insane people.
I am expecting what I am not prepared to give: trust, love, and authenticity. And I am disappointed when I feel they’ve let me down.
But whose fault is it?
Is it me who never showed the world what I am capable of or how I want to be treated?
As I travelled down this spiritual path, I thought I had evolved, transformed, and become more authentic. However, I realized a while ago that I had lost my authenticity.
In fact, I couldn’t remember who I was anymore and how to get back to that.
This is not a poor me or pity party—it’s an honest retelling of a period in my life.
Someone at work said to me a while ago, how do you know someone else is not going through what you are if you don’t talk about it? They might be able to help you and vice versa.
This person also reminded me that not everyone is trying to harm us. It changed my perspective—this felt like a real mic-drop moment.
The mask convinces us that we are alone and that no one understands us. No one can help us or is good enough to do so.
But isn’t this mask made up of fear, pain, and grief?
Sometimes in life, we want to be invisible. The mask did not just help me hide at a time in my life when I wanted to be hidden, and it became my prison. It distorted my way of thinking in a negative way. It changed me (and not for the better).
What I’ve learnt recently is that our true selves cannot be hidden away.
This mask is not comfortable anymore. Imagine our true selves as big, beautiful rainbows, and we are trying to squash them into a matchbox. Well, c’mon, that’s never going to fit, right?
Well, that’s exactly what we are doing when we hide away. Yes, I know it is painful, challenging, and confronting to show ourselves as we really are. But isn’t that what our soul is calling for? An authentic way of being and living?
Maybe we start being vulnerable in a place where we feel safe and slowly let the rainbow out of the matchbox bit by bit.
Even my body is screaming for space to grow, to release the stored emotions—to stop hiding. It makes me sad to realize that I caused damage to myself by continuing to keep this charade up.
So, I’m starting slowly but surely. I had slowly let my writing out into the world these last few weeks, and it’s been a mix of joy, love, and vulnerability.
I am breathing through the vulnerability and giving myself space to adjust to the new person I am becoming.
Being vulnerable is scary and stepping into our real self is even scarier—but we have to start somewhere.
“Hey world, this is the real me. You are standing up and not hiding anymore. However, on the other side of that fear lies your freedom and your homecoming, back to yourself. This journey back to yourself is the best thing you ever did.”
Let’s drop our masks because it’s time, and the world needs more authentic, badass people like us.