When I first began my garden, I wanted to name it. For a time, I referred to it as my Tiki Terrace. I found some Tiki style lights and various Polynesian decorations. One such decoration was a sign that read, Tiki Hut Tavern, and featured a Hawaiian style Tiki mask.
I thought of that mask today. I was looking out my kitchen window and saw the sign hanging on the fence. The mask used in ancient cultures was worn to protect the wearer from evil spirits, or allow the wearer to imitate their favorite god. I’m not sure but I have heard many of us wear masks today. They are just unseen.
My mask looks like a smile that does not quite reach my eyes. My mask looks like going to work when I would rather curl up in a ball. My mask looks like tears stopped in their tracks when surrounded by strangers.
The great thing about a mask, the whole purpose for a mask, is to hide. It keeps viewers from seeing the face of the wearer. The bad thing about a mask is that it hides. A mask prevents the wearer from clearly seeing out.
As time has gone on, I have ventured out from behind my mask. This happens in little tiny spurts and has been no easy feat. It is scary. I peel it off bit by bit then get scared and back on the mask would go. I have learned however, that when I reveal what I have been trying to hide, my sadness, my fear, I find that I am not alone. I find kindred spirits. I find compassion in surprising places. I find clarity where I did not expect it.
I am not quite ready to toss my mask aside but with love and encouragement and hope, I am learning I can live without it.