I see so many AMAZING women wearing masks and sometimes I just want to shout “Take off that barrier. You’ll be free! And P.S. the real you is SO much more fun and appealing.”
I get it… I used to wear the mask, too. You know, the mask that said,” Don’t get too close. Don’t look too deep. And, please oh please don’t let me outshine anyone.” I used to be trapped by my doubts. I used to embrace a part of me and act like it was the only me. I used to think I had to be a certain way to be accepted or liked. I used to try and hide my bold, powerful, fiery, smart self. Instead I stayed in my sweet, nice, very “surface-only Self.”
This week I hosted one of the most powerful tele-calls ever with my two coaching partners- the fabulous Lisa Steadman and Sybil Henry. Lisa said something so brilliant on the call. She asked the listeners what the payoff was for staying small and living a mediocre life. I used to have a payoff for hiding my power and wearing a mask. And it was this… if I stayed sweet and stupid, then no one could blame me for making a mistake. If I hid and expected less from myself, then I’d never be disappointed. I’ve now done the work to step into my Light so I can sparkle and shine. But there were many, many years of self-doubt. I snapped out of my hazy, “I have dreams and fantasies, but I don’t take BOLD action” stupor, when my dad passed. My dad was fearless and confident and in one word- amazing. When he died, I had to say good-bye to not only my dearest, best friend, but my soul- partner. He got me and I got him. That’s the BG on the biggest heart-break of my life… a heart-break that allowed me to make some different choices.
See, when you really realize how precious life is- you might decide to make some different choices.
I got fed up with being ruled by fear. I got fed fed up with playing small. I got fed up with not being ALL of me. Because while I am sweet, kind, and reserved… I am also BOLD, LOUD, SPARKLY, AND SMART. I am a woman with a voice and a message. I deserve to be heard. And I deserve to be seen. And if I don’t bring ALL of me to the party in this game of life, then I am disowning the real Power Goddess inside. I am ignoring the full-on, Feminine power-house within, and only experiencing a sliver of what I’m meant to feel on this journey. I deserve more. And so do you, my sister. So do you!
So here’s the deal. I basically had to tap into the fiery, powerful, energy of anger to get into action. I had to allow anger in. I had to feel it, to scream it, to paint it, and cry/sob/wail it. I had to release my shame. Those emotions had been percolating inside of me for a long, long time. But it was easier for me to stay small, then it was for me to hear the message my emotions had. The message was this: I needed to forgive myself for the past and claim my voice.
I lost my voice when I was seven years old.
Picture this: I am a shy seven-year old ballerina. I use dance to express my Soul. I don’t speak much, not to anyone at school and not to any of the kids in my neighborhood. I love being on stage- if I am dancing. Mouth shut, no words, just the music to feel, feel, feel. One day, my mom puts me in musical theatre. That means I have to dance AND sing AND speak. I have to use my voice. It’s a challenge… but I take it on.
It’s the day before the BIG SHOW. All the parents and family friends will be there. We have a rehearsal and I have to perform in front of my class and the teacher and director. I sing and dance and use my voice and I’m super proud of myself. In fact, I’m on a high. After rehearsal, I wait for my mom to pick me up. Another girl from class waits with me. She’s loud, and she says what’s on her mind. And what’s on her mind is this- I messed up some of the words when I sang during rehearsal and isn’t the funniest thing ever? I sounded so stupid, ha ha ha! The girl mimics my singing, and she stutters on purpose, copying my performance as she laughs out loud.
This is the day I lose my voice.
And that’s how it happens…
We get made fun of or we experience heart-break and disappointment and we shut down. We put on our mask.
For me, it became easier to stay stupid and sweet, then to be made fun of and get disappointed. But here’s what I know now; I would rather be disappointed a hundred times over then never be able to shine. I will never, ever hide again. I will take my place on center stage and if I fall, stumble, or stutter… I don’t care. Cuz the reward of being ALL of me is much bigger then the pay-off of being an itty-bitty shell of me. The mask is off. I’m free to be me and loving it!
You may not have had a loved one pass, but maybe you’ve had some other crisis rock your world. Maybe you’ve seen that life is short, and yes sometimes painful. You have a choice… you can back up and get quieter and less visible or you can GO FOR IT. Are you going to live this life with ALL of the gusto, passion, and boldness you can muster? Are you willing to fall? Are you in enough pain over playing small, that you make a different choice? Are you open to letting the beautiful, wild, messy parts of you be seen?
You can choose to take the mask off. Now, you may feel naked at first. And that’s ok. You’ve been wearing that mask for a while and it’s probably been feeling very natural. But there is nothing natural about hiding and denying your Spirit and disconnecting from your Soul desires- although that is exactly what the mask gets you to do.
I get such a high off of watching my clients take of THEIR masks. Last week, one of my fabulous clients decided to tap into her wild side and get some purple streaks in her hair. She’d been waiting to do this because for so long she worried about what other people thought! Together, we identified the beliefs that were holding her back so she could get past those blocks and be FREE. The purple streak in her hair is a visual reminder of her growth and willingness to be seen.
When you’re free, un-masked, and in a place of trust with your inner Spirit- that’s when you’re center stage creating YOUR life vs. reacting to it.
You can choose to have some fun with this process while you grow and expand. Maybe you dress more boldly, or laugh a lot louder. Maybe you dive into those deeper parts of yourself and let them guide you. Maybe you show off a bit more. Maybe you make this world… your center stage.