There was one time where I actually auditioned to be a Disneyland character, and I got called back. But I totally thought it was ridiculous and didn’t go through with it. Whenever I go to Disneyland now, I always seem to silently judge our costumed friends, critiquing their “in-character” movements and shaking my head if the princess isn’t smiling big enough or if Tigger doesn’t seem to be bouncing as much as the “real” Tigger would. The cool thing about being one of those characters in my mind is that no one on the outside will ever be able to tell what you’re truly like on the inside. You my be sweating buckets and cursing under your breath in that foul-smelling suit of doom while your outer body is hugging a small child adorably and shooting a frozen grin at the camera.
Oh wait, this sounds like real life.
I don’t know if it’s the years of customer service I have under my belt, but I really know how to fake it at times. I could be feeling like the worst human being in the world, but I would be as chipper and energetic as a little woodland creature. Friends wouldn’t suspect a thing, no one would try to aim a magnifying glass into my soul, and I would be safe from having to explain a dozen things my heart was bleeding from at that exact moment. It’s easy to lead a double life when you’re trying to protect yourself and trying to contain all the junk and the muck that seems to want to burst out of you.
Then you meet those people, the friends you keep close, who you simply cannot pass out any bullshit to. In fact, they see right through it, pause to give you a moment, and ask to talk about what’s going on in your life rather than going about business as usual. Those friends are scary, because even my most infamous mask falls short and shrivels to the ground when I get one look into their eyes. I seriously have one friend who I cannot lie to, ever. I actually start crying every single time she asks me if I’m doing all right.
And as I realize that I’m having to take off my mask often to be authentic about my feelings and what I’m going through, and it gets harder and harder to fake it while my heart is breathing a lot better without having something heavy over it. It starts with trust, and slowly trickles into vulnerability, then ultimately flows into freedom.
I hope you can take off your mask, I hope God grants you the courage to do it. I hope you’ll let it fall from your hands and your face will shine in liberation, and you’ll be able to bask in the realness of who you are, who you were made to be. The mask was never the headliner, but YOU are. I hope you will open up to someone, allow them inside into the darkness that is your baggage, your past, and I hope that you will know that you are not alone. God has your back, He will take care of you, and there are good people out there who want to love you and care for you. Do you know that?
So thanks to these friends who I can be so shamelessly honest with, and thanks for sticking around with me. I really am so humbled that you can love someone as silly as me.