Monday, January 16, 2017

Truth will answer

The masks we wear. Yes, we all have them. We put them on when we leave the house. We put them on when we are trying to train the child. We put them on to please our partners and families. We wear them well, because they shield us from change, from truth, from exposure.

It was 1977. I packed my toddlers into the car and drove to my estranged husband's temporary dwelling. The kids were thrilled to see Daddy. I was not so thrilled, but his car was in the shop, and he needed a ride to work. We pulled up in front of the building, dropping him off. Before we pulled away from the curb, we saw him walk into the building with his girlfriend. I share this because we wear masks.

For many years, I wore the mask of a dutiful wife and mother. I tried my best in this new residence in Wisconsin to blend in and accept the change. I wore my best face and cried when no one was looking. There is nothing lonelier than being in a relationship with no way out. I was a child of the past in a time when women were just beginning to step out of that old belief of the little housewife. I wore a mask, an identity of the past. Yes, we all wear them. They are all different. In fact, we have a drawer full of them.

I tossed off that mask and walked away. The shy wallflower became a working woman who would offer her life to her children. My ex said he did not like the change. Well, he didn't like me much before, but, darn it, I liked me.

I have learned over the years that honesty is crucial for any relationship. Kids can see through our put-together facades. We talk differently, relate differently, keep our parental distance. They know our games. Even the little ones understand. We keep friends at arms-length and let our other half have his/her way. Kindness? Maybe. But from a woman who lived thirteen years with a heavy mask on her face, I can tell you, that truth in action is the only truth worth living.

I realize this is a fairly different column. Many of you have asked that I keep including my Grandparent's Voice. I like to think that perhaps you find some truth in my writing. Let's throw away our masks and give future generations freedom to experience, to believe, to grow into themselves. Maybe we can make a difference in this new year for ourselves and our world.

When I was a child trick-or-treating, I hid my identity behind a mask. I became someone else for a brief period of time. There was a world outside from which I was temporarily removed. The mask itched and poked me. When it was lifted off my face, fresh air whispered to the real me. It revealed a child who for a moment hid away from the world. Share the truth of yourself with other; truth will answer.