When I was young, the look of myself did not concern me,
It was the look of the world around me that held my wandering eyes;
It was the trees that swayed so gracefully in the wind
It was the birds that stood so close to the fence looking for food
It was the moon that tried to follow me everywhere I went
and most of all it was the people around me who never let anything defeat them that held my stares.
I too tried to be graceful like the trees
hungry like the birds
wandering like the moon
and strong like the people around me,
I didn’t want to give up and put on a façade to convince the world that I was in fact these things,
but in time as I grew older that is what I did.
I put on my mask every day.
In some ways the mask would dissolve and become who I was on some days;
some days the mask stayed put and the world stayed quiet,
but behind this mask I am clumsy like the tree's fallen leaves
I am helpless like the bird’s food
I am hidden like the moon's shadow
and I am weak like the house that contains the people around me.
I feel as though I am no one without my mask;
I am no one worthy of a second look if I am not wearing the mask I gave myself.
Sometimes I cannot function without hiding my face and voice behind something that I think will save me from the world,
I might be saved if I can just protect myself from the cruelty and hate that lives inside this world.
I think to myself: maybe if I just keep my words and my true self locked away in a room for no one to ever find, like I am kidnapping my own self,
maybe somehow if I can get rid of who I am, I will be tolerated or liked or even not judged
maybe I will feel better about myself.
Maybe there are too many maybes in this world that need to become yeses.
Maybe I need to not hide who I am.
Yes I need to show who I am.
My mask will come off and I’ll break it onto the ground into a thousand tiny fragments.
And underneath my mask,
for all the world to see and hear,
with all the words I could never really say,
but never really tried to say,
I would tell a story of an unmasked little girl
who loved the strong broken ones around her
who thought the moon only chased her
who fed the growing birds around her
and who watched the tall trees sway above her.
I would tell the story of a girl who took all the sights this world could give
and shaped herself with them, in a world so unforgiving.
In this world I learned to embrace who I was and who I am,
because if the trees and everything else around it could sit or stand and be where they are for so many years without anything to hide behind;
no mask to bring them comfort,
then I could too.
I could open myself up, reveal a natural face and lively words to show that I am not a force that can be stopped or thwarted, even by my own feelings.
I am my own creation without a mask to hide behind.
Hiding was never my goal, hiding was never what I needed, no one needs to hide.
Yes, I am not everything I dreamed of being,
but even if I am not graceful like the trees, I still have a hunger in my eyes for what I want like the birds do
and even if I am not able to wander easily like the moon, I still can be strong like I have learned so well to be from the people I see.
No world, not even the one around me could tell me to put my mask back on.