The uniforms of our existence. Everyday, we get up and go out into the world and we, hopefully, are making an effort to be as authentic as we can be.
But how successful are we? We ALL have masks. We all have a persona to some extent that we are forced into or even choose to don on a daily basis in order to somehow fit in, maintain order, get ahead, or even just cope with daily life amongst the mass of personalities and other drama that pulls us in one direction or the other.
I am thinking about this a lot lately due mostly to some inevitable changes and ensuing upheaval at work. But it is worth it to ask ourselves in most portions of our lives what our masks allow us to contemplate and achieve as well as what they hold us back from and whether they interfere to some unacceptable extent with who we are. Who we really are.
I contemplate this stuff because I am afraid. I'm afraid of losing myself within a role that I must play. I'm afraid that the miniscule amount of empathy I have left in me for the human race is going to fall away as I struggle through uncharted territory and dealings with said mammals on more numerous occasions. I only have so much room on my stupid meter and most days I already find it close to maxed out so what will it mean to add to it to the point of overflow? I don't know and I'm afraid.
I'm afraid of how it might overflow into my personal business and my mental health. Anger management is sometimes an almost impossible task in my line of work. Separating life into boxes is not something I'm good at. I'm a global kind of "feeler" and as such, my moods tend to lend themselves to a universal language.
The simple answer would be to be authentic and be done with it. And it is true that being authentic is not difficult for me. What is difficult is the world's reaction to my authentic nature. I am, for instance, not exactly hiding in a closet as far as spiritual matters go but by the same token I do not advertise my beliefs. I have found in life that most people are just as clueless about spirituality and religion as they are everything else so few even notice that I wear a small pentacle or that I mention a solstice in relation to the calendar, etc. But, those subtle parts of my day to day dealings with people are masks within themselves. I WANT to be open about who I am spiritually. I WANT it to not matter. But, reality is that it would be used against me at work. Don't kid yourselves my friends, there IS no separation of church and state in terms of employment in the public sector. The reality is that it matters.
And on the subject of being authentic, what would most people's reaction be to the true nature of Gillian on other philosophical matters? I can't even type them HERE for fear that someone, somehow, will stumble upon this world of mine, this haven that I have created with dear friends miles apart through blogging and podcasting... They'll stumble upon it and rat me out, manipulate my beliefs (not only spiritual) and opinions as something not becoming of the role I hold or may hold.
Am I being paranoid? Am I being a coward? Am I just still being a scared little girl laughed at and bullied because she believed that animals went to heaven?
When we sell our souls it is often times not a grand affair like it is in the movies. It isn't like Al Pacino offers us the sweet life in a high rise penthouse complete with every manner of every favorite sin. It usually happens in a much more subtle way, little by little, until in our times of quiet contemplation we are faced with the truth. And that truth is that we have somehow lost ours along the way. We compromise in the name of "cooperation" in relationships, parenting, friendships, working. We give here and there and little by little we sometimes find ourselves living the reality that someone else would have us live rather than our own by nature.
I have, in my life, tried very, very hard to ensure this does not happen. I've walked a tightrope and mostly saved myself from waking up in a panic one morning and not even knowing who the fuck I am and how I got to a place I did not want to be. Mostly. There have been slip-ups along the way. Deviations from my true nature that cost me dearly in terms of time (which none of us have enough of) and the opportunity for true, genuine experience (which none of us have enough of either). I am now at the point in my life where I am too old for any further deviations. Even small ones. My time is limited and I must live it accordingly.
So, I have not answered any of my own fears or questions with this Sunday morning rambling. I'm just still thinking...
I realized something this morning on my way in from dog duty. Winter, such as it is, has not been this much like true winter in over a decade here.
When I say "true" winter I mean one in which it snows. And snows. And snows some more and the snow never really melts because the temperature never really gets high enough.
I'm not a baby. I grew up in a place with "true" winter. There are just reasons I don't live there now and winter is one of them. LOL. I live in what is normally a more temperate portion of the state. See, normally we'll get a couple of decent storms per year and the snow will hang around for a few days but then melt away fairly quickly. Or it may snow several days in a row, but not amount to much. Or it will be frigid but not snow. Snow OR cold is what we generally deal with. Not both for weeks on end, dragging into months on end, extending into the entire season.
And as such, I am normally not wearing snow boots to work daily. I am not washing my two pairs of lined, winter pants constantly and wearing them interchangeably because it is too damn cold to wear anything else. I have long since giving in to foregoing fashion this season and in its place I stand in my closet and think about what is most warm that I can put on my body. I'm on autopilot these days. It puts the layers on as it knows is best, it starts the truck early, it goes out in the cold because it must...work, home, chores, bed, repeat.
It is no wonder people get depressed this time of year. February is always especially hard because it is approaching spring but not really, the holidays have been over for quite some time, people are tired, grumpy, light deprived... Given all this I am trying to be most gentle with myself. Even though I felt on one level like a complete slug over the weekend I feel like it was important for me to just not have a damn thing on my agenda for a day and a half. Real winter makes everything more complicated, more tedious, more time consuming. I just needed to be able to make the choice to do absolutely nothing. And to know that it doesn't matter that I haven't been to yoga class or been dripping in proper sweat for a week. I do what I can to cope as does everyone else and that is good enough. I know that I just have to ride the sleigh for this last few weeks and make it work. Everything is always most challenging just before you turn the corner...
And I damn sure am gonna kiss the first flower I see pop its head above ground.