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The Many Masks We Wear

Thursday, February 16, 2012

In the Biggest Loser Challenge we have theme weeks. This week is Mardis Gras. In considering what my page theme would be and how it speaks to me, I realized that many people don't realize Mardis Gras is a religious celebration.

I also thought about how New Orleans which to me is the home of Mardis Gras has risen from Hurricane Katrina with such grace.

And then because yesterday went by unexpectedly for me, I began to see others decorate ahead of me and I saw masks. Lots and lots of masks. And then I knew what my theme would be for this week.

Masks and labels. This is a bit of a re-write of an earlier blog of my own from last round of the BLC actually. Good for my cougars to know because it isn't anything new or singular to this round or the size of our team. It is just human nature.

We are now halfway through BLC 18. We were "sorted" and given team families and by now many have formed bonds and friendships. Others still "not quite".

Even this far into the round, I realize that we don’t really know one another at all. We all have stories. We all have “stuff”. And it takes time and effort to get to know one another. Yet another reason that the 3 post rule is the absolute bare minimum. There are people who post after a few days and exclaim they are lost and I’m sure they are which will make it more difficult for them to feel like part of the family. Sad. We have a motto “no cougar left behind”. Being part of a family takes effort for sure. I want to know you - what makes you tick. What are your strengths. Your weaknesses. What is going on in your life. What matters to you. All of it! :) The good, the bad and the ugly!

And because we are getting to know each other it’s like we are polite with each other. We only see the niceties if you will. The company manners. It takes time to really “see” someone and, too, they have to let you inside. Trust takes time. A foundation must be built of trust and friendship and caring.

What we see on the outside is oftentimes nothing at all what is how someone is really feeling or what is their “real” life. If only we could all wear signs to make it easier.

In another lifetime, I was married for sixteen years. When we separated, so many people said to me “But you were our role model.” “You were the perfect family.” And yet, they had no idea. If only I had worn a sign that told the secret that I had lived with and even still isn’t mind to share....I was the PTA President. On the OWC Board. We got Yard of the Quarter so many times the neighbors joked we had Yard of the Millenium. We were the Chairmen of the Soccer Board as a couple. Our son was a cub scout and then a boy scout. Did Order of the Arrow. You know the family....On the outside I looked like I had the perfect life but I was hiding a secret and it became too painful to carry because with it came baggage...junk in my trunk...that I still carry and am trying to work off here today.

My friends, if only we could all wear signs....
“Empty Nest Syndrome”
“Loss of Parent”
“Loss of Sibling”
“Loss of pet”
“Loss of child”
“Loss of job”
“Bad Relationships”
“Poor self esteem”
“Bad back, _______”
“My spouse doesn’t understand me.”
“My child/ren are out of control.”

Some of our signs would be in tiny writing so that maybe only one person would see but still someone would notice. Some would be big flashing neon signs so that the relief of everyone knowing would be GREAT and like flood gates opening.

I wish that we could all wear signs emblazoned proudly with what we really feel and mean open and free and outright. Can you imagine if we all did and felt comfortable doing so? What an amazing and refreshing world we would live in if we didn’t all wear masks of politeness and to protect our innermost selves from shame or embarrassment or perceived hurts that might be forthcoming. Where we could be comfortable enough in knowing that we could do so freely without being judged or that there would always be someone to sense our need and reach out? I think that place would be called Utopia!

I wish with all my heart having learned a thing or two about those perceptions, that everyone could learn far sooner than I did. And still we all wear masks and signs. :::sigh:::

Sparkland is a place where I’ve seen people letting down the masks and turning their signs to the light so we can see. A comfortable place where people feel accepted and less worried about being judged. Where people are treated with love and respect and kindness.Where you can be comfortable sharing your “sign” “I’m in pain.” and know that someone will reach out and comfort you. And that, my friends is a huge smile maker.

Come out and play!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Your so right Kal what a wonderful world this would be. Mayabe one day we will see this happen. For now I feel blessed that there are those on Sparkpeople that really do see behind my mask.

    What a joyous feeling to really be who you are.

    Loved, LOVED, L.O.V.E.D. this.
    3303 days ago
    Thank you for the post. I too have found a haven here. No judgment, no guilt... it is amazing.
    3304 days ago
  • PRIZM96
    Kal~What a truly wonderful blog. You have such a way with words. You are absolutely right about the many masks we wear.
    I think also sometimes people will "wear the mask" or keep things to themselves in places such as message boards or whatnot because, there-at that time- they don't have to deal with whatever their sign might say. "There" they can be the "role model". **sigh**
    Utopia sounds so peaceful and burden-free.......

    3304 days ago
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