If we are going to live bold and authentic lives, then we must unmask and value ourselves as whole human beings.
After leading a process on getting out of the man box, I’ve been thinking about my mask. I want to share a movie I think you’ll find meaningful, The Mask You Live In. This award-winning film follows boys and young men as they struggle to be authentically themselves in the face of America’s definition of masculinity.
It’s not just boys and men, Miss Representation, also written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, explores how the media and society tell us that girls and women are valuable only for their youth, beauty, and sexuality.
I’ll tell you about my mask. The outward appearance is confident, stoic, and intelligent. Behind my mask, the part I don’t want to show, I’m scared, stupid, and lost.
Building My Mask
I built my mask from age seven to seventeen. First came the inside.
As a kid with a learning disability, dyslexia, who lived abroad where friends came and went at the whim of their father’s employer; my pain seemed unbearable at times. Then when I was ten, we moved from Puerto Rico to a small, farm town in Indiana. Talk about not belonging or fitting in.
Construction on the outside of my mask started with the move to Indiana. I discovered my athleticism, a way to gain some acceptance and inflict pain I was feeling on others. For nearly a decade, I played football, wrestled, and ran track pretending to be confident so the coach would put me in the game. Enduring pain with a stoic demeanor – never let them see the hurt, pain, exhaustion, or tears. I didn’t date the cheerleaders; I dated the smart girls. Trying in vain to distance myself from my dumb jock identity.
Damn, that was hard to write to you.
Hit reply, tell me about your mask.
Answer the Call