If I had the courage to remove my mask, what would be behind it? Flesh – scarred and dingy from the lack of light and yet so desperate to see the sun. My fear? That it will scare others away or that my vulnerability will shove me into a suffocating darkness that ever pulls me down. Inescapable.
If I had the courage to remove my mask, what would others say? Would those who have seen my raw, inexcusable self shy away when they laid eyes on its entirety? Little by little, I open up in expectation that those around me will not hack and slash at what lies underneath the white face that I manipulate to my liking… well, to society’s liking. Those who I expect to mar me open their arms in a tight embrace, accepting me without question or second thoughts. But it is those who deceive me that further fuses the mask to my skin.
If I had the courage to remove my mask, would others do the same? On the surface, confidence is strong yet fleeting, but what message would I be showing my daughter if I simply spoke the words, would my actions – or lack thereof – speak louder? But what if she tears open her chest and reveals her heart, as I once did, but the world rips it out and smashes it? Would I be responsible? Always inside my mind, I hear the words of society’s formless figure screaming – Too fat, Too ugly, Not curvy in the right places, Not good enough.
If I had the courage to remove my mask, would the sickness go away? Would I finally win the battle that I have been fighting for countless years? As I pause, I recall the shroud of depression and the feeling of being weighted down so heavily that I could scarcely catch breath. The tightening noose around my neck, appropriately named Anxiety, attempts to tare me upwards while the weights shackled to my ankles tear me in half. All of this as a result of a faceless entity that seeks out females for submissiveness and degradation.
If I had the courage to remove my mask, would I be the same? Although I already know the answer is no, I am hesitant. I see how far I have come in recent months and the mask just falls off, shattering into a thousand, nay a million pieces. Arising from the ashes it forms are images of my hidden pain that resided between the cracks. Tears and anger. A facade that I played, like a puppet underneath a puppeteer, for so long I nearly forgot myself. Regret? There is none. I have learned from the experiences and a Phoenix now rises from the ashes. An unconscious smile creeps across my face as I look up at the sun for what feels like the first time. I warm my skin, my soul, and let the scars be seen among the masses. The breath of fresh air that fills my lungs breaks the shackles within. I. Am. Finally. Free.
I hope you enjoyed this! I don’t have a Writing Prompt for this post, but post your own growth story in the comments!