“If anyone figures out who you really are, then they’re going to know you’re a fraud.”
This echoed in my mind this past week at my counseling session, as my counselor and I explored this fear that I have.
People talk all the time about “masks.” Don’t wear a mask. Be genuine. Let people know the real you.
I’ve said these things.
But let’s be real… not wearing a mask and letting all the wounds and scars and mess of who we are be seen by the world is difficult.
As we discussed the concept of masks in my session, I recognized that I don’t identify well with the “mask concept.” Instead, I’d say that I am more like a Russian Nesting Doll… you know, those dolls with dolls inside of them. That’s me. One layer on top of another hiding various insecurities and wounds and fears. I have a couple friends who have almost gotten all the way to the true me, but the majority of the people who know me haven’t even gotten past the first doll.
The first doll of humor that hides that I don’t think I’m pretty enough or good enough to be loved, so maybe I have worth if I can make you laugh. The first doll of affirmation that lives vicariously through my friends’ happiness and success. The first doll of wisdom that makes me seem like a spiritual mother that has everything together. The first doll of administration because I’m hiding that I have a control problem. The first doll of extraverted-ness hiding how alone I truly feel. This first doll is everything I want to be, and sometimes, I even fool myself into believing this is the real me.
If anyone got past the first doll, past the second doll, past the third doll, they’d see the real me… they’d see a sad little girl, who is scared and confused, with a bag of insecurities and wounds. They’d see every moment that I felt rejected and alone; they’d see every single suicidal thought; they’d see all the confusion that I wade through daily regarding who I am; they’d see that I’m not that first, outer doll that I pretend to be.
I don’t hide behind all these different facets of who I show myself to be to the world because I am intentionally attempting to lie to everyone in my life; and honestly, I wouldn’t even classify what I’m doing as lying.
I just think that knowing that girl on the inside is difficult, and even more difficult is actually loving that girl. I honestly don’t believe anyone will love that girl. It’s so much easier to love the first doll that I pretend to be. It’s so much easier to trust that version of myself. It’s so much easier to not burden everyone else with this negative view of myself.
Because that sad little girl is desperate to be loved well. That sad little girl is extremely needy. That sad little girl feels unworthy and unlovable and doesn’t know how to let anyone take care of her. That sad little girl needs mothers and fathers to restore her to the height of her capabilities.
This sad little girl requires a lot of work.
And sometimes, that sad little girl is seen in the way I respond to situations or react to rejection or express myself or identify with others or experience my insecurities.People don’t know how to respond when I allow that version of myself to operate.
So I’ve learned how to harden myself, layer after layer. Put on the next wooden doll to hide the inner doll, to hide the insecurities, to hide the vulnerability, to hide the brokenness. Put on the next wooden doll to become someone easier to love, someone easier to deal with, someone easier to trust, someone more secure. Put on the next wooden doll to attempt to be what the world desires.
All the while, the core of who I am is just a child; just an immature form of thoughts and emotions and love and nurture and restoration. The core of who I am is a child very capable of throwing a tantrum sometimes and crying at other times and being needy one day and calloused the next.
I’m supposed to now have some sort of crazy revelation that I’m a fraud or that it’s okay to be that sad little girl or that it’s finally time to start stripping away the facets of this image I’ve created for myself, but that’s not where I’m at.
I’m learning that sometimes, it’s okay not to have every answer. It’s okay to just sit and wait on what to do next. It’s okay to just process. I think that is the kindness of the Lord in stripping away part of this fabricated self-image.
So I’m going to continue processing. I’m going to leave this post without a solution. And I’m going to be okay with that. Because maybe in this waiting, I’m slowly removing the first doll.