Being a masquerade must be somewhat uncomfortable.
I mean, walking around in a mask and bizarre clothes unable to be oneself does not look like fun to me.
But is this not the kind of discomfort we choose when we slip into a costume of pretense to cover up the things we are ashamed of and pass ourselves off as what we are not?
At least masquerades have some kind of higher purpose to justify the inconvenience – entertainment value to a crowd or spiritual usefulness to believers. Besides, the role-play is temporary; the mask must come off at the end of the show.
It’s not the same for us.
Out of fear, we tend to stretch the pretense as long as we can, swapping one mask for another until we almost forget who we really are.
And hiding is tough. It’s tough on the mind and tough on our relationships. It adds to the weight of living and keeps us dragging our feet. I know the feeling well and I hate it.
There is more than one alternative, but the one I have chosen is drastic (maybe I’m a bit of an extremist), direct and decisive: radical transparency.
Radical transparency is consciously exposing oneself without being prompted or backed into a corner. It is confronting weaknesses and flaws by choice, coming to terms with them and being open about them.
The logic is, “I know myself and I’m okay with this work-in-progress, so that’s who I’m going to share with the world.”
This is not about broadcasting your mistakes indiscriminately or using your inadequacies as a crutch. It means telling yourself the truth about yourself (“Yup, I’m a recovering piece of shit.”) so often that it becomes your only story: “This is who I am. Feel free to judge me, run or do whatever.”
Opening up this way is scary as hell (I’m swallowing hard just thinking about all the undesirable sides of myself I have had to face down) but the relief is undeniable. You walk around feeling lighter, not looking over your shoulder or struggling to protect your make-believe life. I know the feeling and I love it.
Listen, to be real without apology, to have nothing to hide, that’s freedom. And who would not want to be free?