I hide behind masks I’ve created. I have my work-mask, a dressed up version of myself that’s motivated and ambitious. I have my friend-mask, a laid back me that talks too much and laughs too loud. I have my mom-mask and my wife-mask, renderings I wish I was better at being: more kind, more patient, more loving.
But then there is me when I write. When I write, the masks fall away, one by one, without my notice. I feel as though I can breathe freely when I’m used to being in smog. I become who I am, and words flow freely from my fingertips, without thoughts of who will see or what they’ll think. When I write I don’t filter or worry who I will offend.
When I write, I’m not fearful.
Because most days, I am. Fearful if I show others who I really am, things will fall apart. They’ll see that I’m scared I’ll never be good enough. And once everyone figures it out, they’ll point and laugh. Then they’ll realize I’m ashamed at my lack of self-esteem and laugh even harder.
But when I write, this all goes away. I write words I can’t seem to say. I write to the people closest to me so they’ll be able to see how much they mean to me, how special they are, in case my actions are not enough.
Writing gives me the opportunity to express myself in ways talking never has. It puts the jumble of my mind and tongue at ease, and lets meaning flow through my fingers. Writing organizes thoughts and focuses ideas. It lets me be.
It allows me to slow down my thoughts enough for my fingers and hands to catch up, documenting what I’m trying to get down. And with the slowing of my thoughts, the distractions eventually float away, taking me out of chaos and into the calm.
Writing shows me things about myself I didn’t know I needed to know. It takes thoughts and opinions and expose things I didn’t know I thought or believed in. It shows me sides of myself I didn’t know existed.
It gives me clarity when I am confused and comfort when I am lost.
When I write, the struggle to hide is gone, and with it, the fear. Writing soothes the parts of myself I distrust and the parts I detest. It quiets them, and they no longer feed my insecurities. When I write, I feel like the me I want to be. That I have always been, the one hiding under the masks.