I have worn my face behind something other than my skin for so long I don’t know if I can recognize my reflection.
At first, I wore the way I felt outside my heart. I didn’t know not to do that. I didn’t know that hearts exposed make people feel uncomfortable.
I learned to hide my heart when one too many people wore it down.
Instead, I took my anger and hate and wrapped myself up in loneliness and presented me to the world.
When I couldn’t bear myself anymore, I found belief to peer out from under, and I made myself shut down.
I wore a skirt and then a headscarf. I looked down and kept quiet. I blended in.
I was miserable.
I was lost.
I thought there was no one left behind the face I put on beneath the years of expectations and the demands of my past dictating each step I took.
One day, broken, misunderstood and fed up with how I was seen, I tore my hair covering off my head and felt the wind.
It was as if I tapped myself on the shoulder and turned around in surprise as I met someone I used to know.
We are getting to know each other, she and I.
I think I like her.
I am standing on a wire now, between skins. I am slowly peeling off the layers.
What I find brings me comfort and peace, even while it hurts the ones I love.
I know you wish I could accept the mask I was handed at birth and learn to embrace it.
I want you to know that I tried, I really did.
This mask didn’t fit me. I squirmed beneath it until I felt like I had died.
But I haven’t died…I have just discovered that I am alive.
The mask is coming off now…
I am about to shine.