F It Mask Off

By Staff Writer Courtney Walker

I’ve had a nice run lately. Work is going better than I could have ever imagined. Life-long desires are in fruition. Personally, I’m coming to understand how it feels when I leave myself, when I start to look outside of myself for an answer, to see who I feel like I should be in a given situation and how it clouds over genuine response. It is an anxious and fearful spot silenced only by being myself.

I know the spot now. I feel solid, unshakeable, and rooted. Primally responsive. And confident in a “Why the hell not? I’ll live regardless” kind of way. I took a leap and doing what came naturally was impressive. I found myself asking how is that enough? How is being me enough? How is there value in just being who I am?

I have some friends who used to say mastery is hot. I am not yet a master of anything, but I can feel a closeness to it, moments of autotelic delight. I’m coming to understand that the adventure I’ve always desired is born from a want in my soul for mastery plus play. It’s likely one cannot be had without the other. Desire for all else seems to stem from that combo. Intensity of intimacy, love, and vulnerability. Exquisite use of attention on life, objects, and others. Expansion and depth, where maintaining quality of relating brings more. And where more is not necessarily better until depth and quality are sustainable. To respond in resonance with bravery. Finding stillness in the unknown. The longing to live in the risk of being a gracious, open-hearted fool. Having so much mastery that I shine like a mirror reflecting the sun.

There is a sadness in knowing that my affectations will no longer be enough. Especially for myself. The masks I wore felt like they could express just enough of me to feel like someone people liked and knew without getting in there too deeply and messing me up. There’s a lot happening in there already, a lot of sensitivity. I can’t have you putzing in there, rummaging around unless I say so. The masks are so easy to put on and so difficult to take off. Nearly impossible. That’s not to say they were even effective. At least to those who cared to know me. Lack of fullness of expression is making itself known. It is loud and it is clear. And it will not be satisfied with any substitutes.

There should be elation. This is a decades-long journey my soul has been on. And will continue to be on. Which is why I’m writing this post. Elation at and celebration of self are not things I fare well at. I assume I do that even a little and my ego will inflate until it bursts. I can cheerlead my heart out for others. For myself, let’s keep it moving, there’s somewhere we have to go. It’s likely the “keep marching on” spirit is another type of mask, one of stoicism and I’m cool, it’s cool. I am measured and objective, even about myself. (Unless you’ve dated me or something like that and have felt my jealousy and anger and know how much that’s not true.)

I think it’s time to take this mask off, too.

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