I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t know exactly what I mean by that caption. Not one. Which is a sad state of affairs but women have been doing this for hundreds of years. I’m sure my mother did it, in fact, if I think back I can probably accurately identify exact dates if I wanted to. I know my sisters have all done it, hell, even my daughters have and they are still growing.
We wear masks.
We get up in the morning and we think about our day and what will make it easier. Easier on whom? On ourselves perhaps but more on everyone else who counts on us.
We wear the happy mask, the helpful mask, the “oh sure, I can do that” when our plates are already ridiculously full mask. We do it all, and we do it with a smile on our faces.
God forbid we show weakness. Too much emotion. Not enough emotion. Too much strength. Not enough strength. We can’t be too sexy or too boring, too loud or too soft spoken. We can’t get explosively angry nor can we be doormats. We shouldn’t laugh too loud, or at the wrong time, or not laugh when a joke is told even if, especially when, it’s at our expense. We should take credit for our accomplishments but not be braggy. We should defer to our husbands, dads, big brothers, bosses but still be assertive. We can’t be bitchy. Or bitches. Or teases. Don’t be too sexual but don’t be prudes.
As was said in a conversation with a friend on this very topic today, it’s exhausting.
Do we do it to ourselves? Well maybe we do. At least a little. In that quest to be the perfect woman, wife, mother, daughter, sure, we do it to ourselves. But, the world has done a lot of it for us. Women are slayed by society for being too womanly or not womanly enough. We can’t win. So we wear masks.
We mold ourselves into the perfect person for each individual situation, each person we interact with. We slap on that mask of smiling, happy mother, relaxed and attentive wife, competent and successful business woman, doting and dutiful daughter. We put on so many masks and spend so much of our day changing and exchanging them that sometimes, just sometimes, the masks all fall to the ground. Sometimes the real us refuses to be covered up and it shines through with chutzpah and divine glory.
Not everyone can handle this. Most people in fact cannot. They want the mask and only the mask. Who can blame them, those masks are tailor made and most people would rather see what they want, rather than what is. But those who look really closely and recognize that true face for the beautiful, unique and wonderful thing it is are the people to truly cherish in life.