Everyone is always telling me how strong and confident I am- how I always seem to know what I’m doing and where I’m going in life. Until recently, I thought that I just did a really good job pretending like I wasn’t just as scared for the future as all of the other people my age. Then, I realized it’s all a façade- a masquerade- to keep people out and feel safe.
I thought about the accident a lot. About how, for the longest time, I wouldn’t even get behind the wheel of a car. About how even thinking about driving struck fear in me. Most people didn’t even know it happened. That was fine with me. I was embarrassed to ever say anything. But then again, I was also embarrassed that I was sixteen going on seventeen with no license. And that accident is what was holding me back.
It was then that I began wondering what it would take for me to remove my mask. I tried to blame other people; I tried to put it all on my past. But really, it was me. It was me who was shut away from the world, locked deep inside her heart. It was me who was hidden like a child frightened of the dark, sitting alone in a corner. The world didn’t know it, but I was that girl.
For the longest time, I couldn’t explain why. I felt like the victim- that the world had brought this down on me. Until I realized that sure, those years were rough, and sure, it’s been really tough coming back from them, but I can’t control the past or what people do; I can only control myself and how I react and how I choose to perceive the world around me.
I had finally nailed my fatal flaw. I had finally realized the true reason I wear the mask. I let my awful past rule my present and dictate my future. Because those kids in elementary school made me feel worthless, I carried that with me through high school, and I let it haunt me. I try to be someone I’m not because I never feel adequate.
But pinpointing the problem is only the beginning, right? That’s fine and dandy, but it still doesn’t really solve anything. Well, the thing is, life’s a journey; the mask isn’t going to come off right away. Unfortunately, preception changes don’t just happen overnight. They take constant vigilance and faith. But, I’ve made a promise to myself that I will love myself for who I am and not who I think others want me to be. Because I’m tired of allowing myself to feel this way. I’m tired of being a masquerade.


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