It’s been a quiet Halloween, the first one where I almost forgot what day it was. There were no monsters jumping out of closets, no gory blood to streak across a youthful face, no costume to don for trick-or-treating, and no desire to sneak candy out of the candy bowl. I spent the majority of this month attempting to write without the mask I often wear when describing my life and exposing my thoughts. I began the month by deactivating my Facebook account, an environment ripe for masked exchanges; and I drafted a month’s worth of writing prompts just in case I got lost along the way. Looking back, I discovered a few things:
- When I write without a mask, my output is less optimistic and that made a few readers take notice. They missed the wise-cracking, witty me. Some days I did too, but at least I never felt like an imposter.
- Without a mask, I definitely felt vulnerable. I found that people don’t stare and gape as much as I imagined they might.
- I found that I didn’t miss the Facebook interactions as much as I thought I would. There has been more quiet in my life than I remember, more time for introspection, and more time to come up with my own critical thoughts.
- There have been moments when I felt like I could be a poet, a columnist or essay writer, moments that I had a point of view and those were moments I cherished. Those were moments that I rarely allow myself to feel.
- I got a glimpse of who my friends and cheerleaders are. It takes courage to step forward, open your hand and offer something as simple, yet rare as an earnest listener or reader. I will begin today to return those many favors.
- I discovered that with risk also comes the possibility of pain and failure. Yet, I still feel I would take a calculated risk in order to grab that golden ring. Pain is part of the process of building muscle. It’s unavoidable if you want to be someone who is strong enough to carry on.
- I discovered that temporary friends are a poor substitute for the real ones. I am lucky enough to have devoted and extraordinary friends that have staying power. Those type of friends come to your door unmasked.
Come tomorrow morning, I hope to be on a plane headed for New York City. I’ll be leaving my mask at home, but I will have my black running shoes safely in hand with their 400 miles of training that didn’t allow for any short cuts and made me feel as if I was, if nothing else, a marathon runner. And that is a mighty optimistic thought worth having.
© Kelly Tweeddale 2012