Recently, I have found myself traversing down a road that has been anything but fun and easy to explore. This particular road, a journey of some sorts, has been one that every twenty-something year old girl is likely to walk down at some stage or another in her life, with an abundance of (initially) unanswered questions (im)patiently awaiting to be explored and answered. The main question being: who exactly am I? As existential as that question might be, my simple stance laid in the simple fact that I seemingly found myself lost in abundance of activities, all of which I have loved, yet have simultaneously depleted any other energy that is required to really just be.
It all really started when I was awaiting the arrival of my good friend Asbo at a cool market in Joburg, called Sheds. On a rather warm Springs day, I felt most content in my car, dressed like a hipster from California (assuming hipsters wear mom jeans as I had worn them that day) and taking pictures of the sky in anticipation for the cool pictures we’d take when she’d arrive.
Somewhere between getting the settings right on my camera, and slightly regretting my choice of jeans in the increasing heat (sweaty mom jeans aren’t fun), I found myself looking for a potential caption for any potential Instagram posts that I would make (because if it’s not on Instagram, it didn’t happen) and instantly came up with the intensely deep caption, ‘Shedding All Masks’. Being an aspiring writer, such a play on words obviously excited me, till I realised the reality of such a saying, and that whether I liked it or not, I had seemingly lost myself in a pile of masks, all of which weren’t a true reflection of who I was or who I wanted to be.
I couldn’t help but wonder how or when one ever loses themselves. Was it in the midst of the daily tasks that overtake our lives, or is it in the midst of pretending we have it all together all of the time to the point that the masks start to look the same? I still don’t have the answers, and most likely will spend much of my life learning the different ways of asking the same question, but I definitely have come to know that you can lose yourself trying to find your value and validation in someone else. You can lose yourself in the race against others, in an attempt to keep up with appearances. You can lose yourself trying to please masses of people around you at the expense of your own well being. And you can also lose yourself in any constant struggle that you may have against yourself, fighting the imperfections instead of learning to love and embrace them, even if they really suck.
Perhaps one of the lessons to be learnt is not only the importance of finding yourself, but everything and everyone else you find along the way. The blessing behind being in such an uncomfortable displaced position to that which you’re ordinarily accustomed to within yourself, is that God blesses you with people and a series of events that lead you closer to who you are deep beyond the masks and easily adopted facades we think people want to see. I love that you’re almost always guaranteed to find yourself in the midst of the maze, and as convoluted as that journey might be, I’m almost certain that it isn’t nearly as burdensome as constantly trying to fit another’s notion of who you should be.
I hope you’re all having an amazing week, and that whatever journey you’re on, that you’re not burden by a mask. And if where you’re lost, I hope you can find yourself in doing all of the things you love the most.