Life is a masquerade, a confusing tango of make-believe and fake smiles. As I sit in this cold, blue chair staring at the cold, white walls that are playing dress-up in costumes of palm trees and tropical beaches, my mind wanders to the childhood days of being a pretty, pretty princess. I’m reminded of the Power Rangers’ outfits of secret identities, of the queen bee of high school who is just trying to make others believe she really is the princess she played at five.
Too many people focus on how others perceive them. Their main goal is to please everyone around them. This is the key to failure according to Bill Cosby. Life is not about impressing your boss to get that promotion or being in the popular group in high school. Life is about you. Life is about knowing that when you look in the mirror and that tiara slips away, you are still worth every bit as much. You can hide from the world behind your pretty little mask, but you will always know what is underneath. Make it something you can be proud of.
I’ve moved pretty regularly in my life. I’m used to change. And every time, I change my mask. Every place I go I learn something new about myself, a new jewel to add to my mask. I’ve been the leader, the follower, the popular cheerleader, the nerd. I’ve had every variety of friends; the prep, the jock, the stoner, the geek, the punk, the rebel. I understand that people are who they choose to be. The little girl with the tutu and ballet slippers decides this is reality and everyone plays along. Everyone dances around the issue, but it’s never actually approached.
Why be insecure about anything if all anyone ever sees is your mask? There is no need to worry about what people think of you. They’re insulting your costume, not you. So just keep laughing and choose a different partner to dance with.
This I believe: everything and everyone hides behind a mask. So live your life for yourself and know that you are still that pretty princess after you put away the puffy, pink dress.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.