Taking off the mask

By Eliza Boulware

pic 1It’s the season of Halloween, so what better time to talk about disguises, costumes and masks? But I don’t mean the kind of mask you wear on Halloween.  I’m want to turn that literal mask into a metaphor. As a cancer survivor, we sometimes have to put a mask on to hide what we going through. We dress up in our superhero costumes or hide behind a disguise and pretend we are someone else.

Have you seen the commercials that show how people walk around with the face on a stick to hide how they are feeling? They hold up the smiling face but behind the mask they are sad. Well, that’s how it sometimes feel when you have just finished treatment or even when you first get diagnosed with cancer. Everybody is looking at you and they respond to how you feel. You don’t want your loved ones to worry nor feel like thy have to give up their life because you are going through.

We put on the mask to show we are happy and strong. We wear that mask and say that we must be the best Christian with great faith because you attend church and people ask the questions’ Where is your Faith, You know God would not put more on you than you can bear.” Well that’s true, but at the time that’s not how you feel. Then you put on the mask to be the best mom because you feel you have to hide the fear so that your children will know how to handle situations, but I pose the questions if we are not teaching them to face the reality are we really teaching them the right way to go. Then we wear that superwoman mask. No matter what I feel I can conquer this. I will go to work, clean the house, attend PTO meetings, help in the community and most of all accept all phone calls and listen to all their problems while you smile and said I am doing good.

Why do we feel we must wear a mask? After Halloween, children take off the mask, no longer pretending to be someone they are not, so why don’t we as adults take off our mask? Underneath that mask still lays a beautiful, strong, courageous woman. A person not ashamed of her weakness because that takes strength. A woman not ashamed of her hair loss because her beauty is in her real smile. A woman whose tears build her and not tear her down. Women, men and children reveal yourself. TAKE THE MASK OFF! BE YOU! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!