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The masks we wear

You think a widow(er) is what you see? Oh, my sweet summer child.

We are experts of wearing masks and most of us have a whole collection of them!

I personally have one to wear to the outside world, at work or in front of strangers - the approachable, professional, strong and confident woman with her (sometimes) inappropriate jokes. Then I have one for the evening, to wear in front of family - this one is a little see-through - bad days show themselves a little but never fully display how bad they are. Then a cute, careless one to wear when I'm with the little one - mummy can't be upset while playing with barbies or helping with a colouring page, can't she? To be perfectly honest, I even have one to wear when I'm sleeping - this one doesn't come out often, but there are days I can't even deal with being honest with myself. Am I feeling okay? Sure I am! (narrator: no, she did not feel well).

We wear these masks and pretend that it's all grand, we are fine, no need to feel sorry for us or pity us. We've got this. Just play pretend and the more we wear our masks, the more we believe that the show is real - fake it 'till you make it, right? To the world? Maybe. To ourselves? No, not at all. Being honest to ourselves about how we truly cope is a must. Without knowing exactly how much more we can take, how can we make sure we don't reach our breaking point one day?

And these are just the masks to hide our sadness, fears or worries - all the negative stuff.

There are other masks. The ones widows or widowers use to hide happiness - yes, some have those as well.

Why, you ask?

Could be for a lot of reasons. Maybe, they found love again but they are not ready to announce it to the world (or anyone) just yet. Maybe they were in a controlling or abusive relationship and now is their time to flourish. Maybe, they are just having a better - or even good day. I find it sad when I read about widows feeling the need to hide their happiness. We are entitled to be happy. We can be happy and grieve at the same time, because happiness is never constant. For widows, it's more like a weird shaped rollercoaster. Up, then deep down then pulling slowly somewhere in the middle, then down and up and so forth. All randomly, never knowing what comes after the turn.

In an ideal world, we wouldn't need masks. We wouldn't need to hide out true feelings. We wouldn't need to feel ashamed for falling apart, for failing, to hide our tears. Neither should we cover up our smiles in a fear of judgement. And the worst thing in our masks that the more we wear them, the harder is to take it off. To show the truth. To trust anyone enough to be real and vulnerable, or to work up the confidence to say heck, I don't care, I don't need my masks to protect me anymore.


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