Remove the Mask, Risk the Exposure, and Breathe: A 2021 Resolution
Updated: Jan 14, 2021
Today marks the end of the most extraordinary year in my lifetime, and I’d venture to guess, yours too. It’s been 295 days since the announcement of the pandemic that sent our world into a great scavenger hunt for sanitizer, toilet paper, and face masks. Can you believe it? It’s been over nine months of covering our faces.
I’ll be honest. I hate wearing a face mask. I miss seeing smiling faces. I dislike feeling restricted, and I especially hate forgetting the damn thing in the car nearly every time I make a trip to the store.
I mean, it makes sense to wear them of course. Scientists and healthcare professionals explained to us that without these masks, we risk exposure… not just our own exposure, but exposing others to the virus. And, I’m a big girl, so I can handle it for as long as necessary.
However, this mask-wearing, exposure-risking, restricted-breathing scenario got me thinking.
It wasn’t that long ago when I was sitting at a lunch table with a co-worker (we will call her Sue) in my corporate coaching job talking about a similar experience.
Like me, she heard a calling deep in her soul that told her something felt ‘off’ in her life. She just wasn’t as happy as she could be. She was exhausted with the rat-race. Perhaps you have felt this way, too?
She was beginning to become aware of a different kind of mask-wearing, exposure-risking, restricted breathing experience that so many of us go through. It’s not the kind of experience that relates to a physical disease per se, but one that certainly causes emotional and soul-level dis-ease.
Sue asked how I balanced my different roles. Between being a wife, a mother, a coach in the corporate, a life coach as an entrepreneur, a student, a daughter… and the list goes on, she wanted to know how I seemed to move so seamlessly between the roles and not lose my mind.
To be honest, there was a time I thought I would because rather than just shifting from activity to activity, I wore different masks for each role.
With my husband, I could be myself for the most part, but I often wore the wife mask, never revealing my deepest crack or sharing my darkest thoughts, such as the desire to suffocate him with a pillow in my sleep-deprived insanity while he peacefully snored loudly enough to wake our sleeping baby.
With my kids, I wore the “perfect mom,” never letting them see me worry or lose my shit, which usually resulted in me eventually blowing up and REALLY losing it. Then I would spend the next several hours to days feeling guilty and ashamed of my behavior, and then eating an entire box of Oreos to drown the feelings.
But the main mask I wore that caused the most dis-ease in my body was the one I wore to work. We have a tagline to go along with it (although I haven’t heard it for a few years). “Leave your personal life at home.”
What that generally translates to is leaving who we truly are at home, along with the most amazing parts of ourselves. When we wear the mask that covers our fear, anxiety, or uncertainty, we also mask and cover our creativity, passion, and joy.
I shared with Sue that I decided who I wanted to show up every day, no matter which ‘role’ I was in, no matter what activity I was performing. I decided to be ME. I watched as her entire body tensed.
The idea of removing the mask and risking exposure felt incredibly vulnerable. I could practically hear the stories in her head…
“What if they don’t understand me? What if they don’t accept me? What if I get rejected outright? What if I get fired?”
There are so many stories we tell ourselves that keep the masks firmed locked on… restricting our ability to relax and breathe.
But what if we told a new story?
“What if they feel the same way you do? What if they understand exactly because they are human and have been there too? What if they LOVE the you that you truly are? What if they support you? What if you not only don’t get fired but your authenticity and creativity shine so brightly that you allow new opportunities to find you that you never knew existed?” What if removing that mask felt like a breath of fresh air?”
I suggested to Sue to start small, where she was most comfortable. She could peek through from behind the mask at first and test the waters. One authentic step at a time. One bold action a day. What could it hurt?
To add a little encouragement, I shared my example of being more open at work about my love of the spiritual world and my services with intuitive coaching.
Come to find out, the more open and authentic I became, the more women I connected with in the corporate environment who, like me, had the same passions, but thought they were alone on this journey; believing that there wasn’t a place for authenticity and spiritual exploration in the corporate world. In my opinion, what better environment to come to know who you truly are?
Can you imagine just how excited I was to find out, that most people I talk to range somewhere between curious to fascinated about the topic? Does everyone agree or ask to hear more? Of course not. But I can honestly say, no one has outright rejected me… or fired me.
In fact, removing the mask opened the door for me to reach out for support during a particularly difficult experience in 2020, where I was willing to quit a job at the height of the pandemic layoffs.
The masks of my past were long gone, so I had no cover when I bared my soul, my anxieties, and my fears to my husband and family. They supported me fully as I vulnerably approached my boss with these questions in mind...
“What if she understands exactly because she is human and has been there too? What if she supports me? What if I don’t get fired, but my authenticity and creativity shine so brightly that I allow new opportunities that I never knew existed to find me?”
And that’s exactly what happened.
What if you remove the mask, risk the exposure, and finally breathe next year… and for all the years after?
You are magnificent and worthy of being loved, adored, and appreciated for who you ARE, not who others expect you to be. And being authentically YOU gives you so much more time, energy, and FREEDOM to support those around you, and pursue the passions that fulfill your soul.
2020 gave us this incredible opportunity to reboot and dismantle the structures that were no longer serving us… 2021 is calling us to rebuild and create our lives the way we want it to be… flexible and free to Be our magnificent, authentic selves.
Take off that mask, Darling, and let the world see the Beautiful Soul that is You... and if you would love a co-creative partner in your journey to clarity Who you want to show up as, What you would love in your life, How to get there, schedule an intuitive session with me. We will quickly and easily find alignment and the path forward.
**Please note: I am in no way advocating to NOT USE FACE mask. Please follow CDC guidelines, wear your face mask, and social distance as guided... and stay safe and protected.