As an abused child the mask goes on, even when in the abusive space. The masks protects not only you but those around you from the truth of the reality of the abuse.
I would go to bed at night, with a calm being in my safe space, the space of my bedroom. My abuser, my father, would come after everyone was asleep and would try to rape me. He would force himself in my mouth, I would pretend to continue to sleeping, to roll over violently, to not acknowledge his presence. A while after he would leave my room, I would stay startled awake. Time would pass and then sleep would finally come.
Shortly after a few hours of sleep I would get up, get ready for school and have my mask on. Having to go to school and continue as though everything was normal. I could have won an Oscar. This was elementary school. This was my reality - and it would happen day after day after day. I had to function every day. I had to succeed in school, be a good sister, daughter, friend and everything else I was involved in.
To continue for 17 years without speaking of the abuse to a soul, the mask rarely came off. Even now, although the mask is off more often, there are plenty of times the mask is still on. People who have known me for years will comment on how they really still don't know me.
The masks that we carry protect those that love us more than they protect us. The abuse continues - and the mask continues to be worn longer.
I found that especially since my abuser was my biological father, I made sure my mask was good and that no one ever knew. This was to protect my mother and my brother and the rest of my family from something so unreal no one would have believed.
Listen and watch. We can learn so much if we pay attention, if we listen and we watch. These masks are on so many of us. As I continue to how to be the best most authentic version of myself, I take the mask off a little more each time. I wish this for you. That you can break out of your mask a little more each and every day.
"Being quiet and hidden, is no longer an option." - pennie saum