Posts Tagged ‘disguise’

The presence of disguise

April 18, 2011

I’ve been hidden from view for most of my life. Nobody really knows who I am. I am so good at disguise that I often do not know who I am.

In my childhood world, revealing one’s true self brought about punishment and familial exile. It is not surprising that I chose to live in disguise. I made that decision over 45 years ago and I don’t remember the incident that crystallized my reality. I do remember being 5 or 6 years old, sitting outside on the sidewalk in front of my family’s house, knowing with full recognition and ancient wisdom, that my life was crappy and it was going to be a long, long time before I could do anything about it. In that crystalline moment, I saw the years ahead of me before I would reach adulthood. To survive my childhood and become an adult, I knew I would have to hide who I truly was, not only from my parents, but from everyone else, including myself.

I don’t remember anyone ever asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I know my answer would have been “alive.”

Years of disguise become tiresome and genuine disclosure of self (even if only to myself) brings relief and the realization that I can choose to reveal or not reveal. I learned that I had to reveal something or else unconscious people (which is pretty much everybody not reading this blog) would project whatever they were feeling at the moment on to me. They would declare me as being a certain way and then act shocked, surprised, and deceived when I would resist their label and often prove them wrong.

Such a way of being in the world did not bring about lasting and supportive relationships.

I learned to extend my boundary and to reel it in depending upon my safety within any specific relationship. I learned to wear the persona of “what would work best here?” In my employment, I have had numerous supervisors who I thought were complete idiots, yet they never knew (and probably still do not know . . . again, they are not reading this blog!). Such people have often written me glowing letters of recommendation.

But there comes a time when the disguises need to be put away and brought out only upon specific special occasions. I am learning to live from my truest presence, trusting my wisdom to be wholly who I am, choicefully revealing my thoughts and feelings when appropriate. And, my true presence would always choose honesty dressed in a way so as not to bring harm to another.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass