There are days where I get up and I am sure you do too, you look in the mirror and realise the only way you will get through the day is by putting on ‘a mask’.
I wear a mask, more often than not these days. I am a teacher and have the lives and education of our young people in my hands. It helps, when all I believe in is being the best I can be when at work, being passionate and believing wholly and completely in who I am and what I do.
Just as these people do.
However, some days I feel the mask I wear is only just hanging on by a thread, and at any moment it would slip and people would see me, the real me.
If it slipped they would be exposed to me as a human, a person who also lives a life, who has everyday issues just as they do. A person who has money troubles, is angry, sad and deflated all in one.
They would see a person who is exhausted and tired. A person who is tired of being the world’s punching bag but do we show them? Do we show anyone?
No we don’t, or at least we try our hardest not to.
Everyone wears a mask, some of us are better at it than others. Some of us have daily practice, others it’s just something that happens if and when it is necessary.
What if that mask were to slip? What if sometimes it was necessary for people to see you as you are. Maybe they need to.
After all would it be so bad?
Well to tell you the truth it’s not bad to let it slip every now and then. It’s important for those around you to realise you are also human. You are not the strong and invincible person who is alway able to be positive no matter what. It’s okay to show weakness.
It was a Monday morning and I had dealt with a big personal issue over the weekend. Feeling exhausted, tired, confused, sad, lost and empty. I got up and put on my mask, as hard as it was I did as I had done so many times.
I went to work, it being my refuge, my place of belonging and got to work. The bell hadn’t rung yet for the day to begin and I was already barely holding it together.
It’s at this time it’s the question you dread from colleagues that I got: “are you okay?”.
Well I must have looked like hell or my mask had slipped just enough to be noticed. They asked and I said ‘yes all is okay’ as tears streamed down my face. It was okay, well it would be okay, but it wasn’t at that very moment.
I took some breaths, wiped away the tears and kept moving. It’s all we can do, it’s all we ever do.
The thing we have to realise is that sometimes we have to let the mask slip to get the support and help we may need but thought we didn’t. Being told to take a few minutes, to take a walk to just ‘get it together’ or have someone ask you, do you need some time? Sometimes taking this time to realise that the people we surround ourselves with can be and are truly amazing. The colleagues we may have, the family and friends are all part of a support network we don’t all know we have but we do. You may not talk to them everyday or even every month but they are there when you truly need them.
I realised it’s okay to let it slip, the mask, it’s okay to show people you are also only human. The mask we wear doesn’t have to be on all the time. It can’t! Physically, emotionally and mentally we are human beings and we cannot spend our days acting and being something we are not when we are truly hurting inside.
It’s okay to show weakness, it’s okay to ask for help! Sometimes it’s breaking down that allows us to build up again!