Lessons from A Wooden Boy

by Lisa H.

Play Me First: Real
song by Karen Taylor-Good

I remember when I heard the song for the first time and how the words captivated me. At times I was that wooden boy–a puppet on a shelf, pulled by invisible strings as I tried to make sense of the world. We are told at a very early by those around us including the media, school, parents, and friends how the world works and how we should be in it; but this rhetoric is often at the price of who we are.

Protect who you are

Sure there are rules that we should follow, laws that we should abide by and social norms like saying please and thank you that will help us move through life more easily; but if we are not careful, we can wear our mask so well that we lose sight of  our true selves. Sometimes our social masks are just a more polite and controlled version of who we really are; in other cases, they are completely different. When they are drastically different, they can wreak havoc on our psyche as we are essentially pretending to be someone we aren’t.

Everyone is pretending

The irony is that everyone else is pretending too. You might think that you are doing a great job of convincing someone that “you really like them and they’re great” while at the same time thinking, “I can’t wait for this conversation to end.”  In reality, you are not fooling anyone — they can see through your act because they do the same thing. But, I guess we accept this pretending as part of the game of life; we need social masks to interact with our exterior world– at work; at the gym; at the grocery store.

Wearing the mask

I remember one time when I was having a bad day at work–it wasn’t so much that the day was bad as it was I was exhausted because the baby had been up a couple times that night, I was sick, overwhelmed and stressed out. I walked into my manager’s office for a meeting and he asked me how I was doing (he could probably see the dark circles under my eyes).

I said to him “do you really want to know how I am or do  you just want me to say fine. He chuckled and said ” you can always tell me how you are really doing” and then proceeded to talk about work. Although, he seems to be a caring person, in that environment, he didn’t want to, need to or have time to know how I was really doing and even if he did, I wasn’t going to tell him my sob story.

That is not how I want to relate to my boss and so I said something along the lines of “I’ll be ok”– a statement in between my mask and my true self.

Wearing a mask all the time is draining and it interferes with having close relationships. Let the people who you cherish most really see who you are:

dance in a crowd….laugh out loud

act like a fool…. be uncool

cry when you hurt ….sweat when you work

get help when you fall… feel it all

Be REAL Real

Photo credit: tenesmusphyre


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