“If human beings had genuine courage, they’d wear their costumes every day of the year, not just on Halloween.” ~ Doug Coupland

Everyone wears masks.

We settle our faces into a mould of distant friendliness upon meeting new people. We align our looks to match the majority when doing business. We shift and structure and change so that we may fit in. We hide away parts of who we are lest someone see us truly and completely. What if we were to find ourselves unworthy.

I suppose I’m no different.

My masks are piled haphazardly and in arms reach. I juggle between so many, at any given time, I am surprised I can keep track of them all.

My parents left yesterday to head back to Florida. The mask I chose was of happiness and excitement for their trip home. They will be surrounded by such good friends that will help them through some of their darkest days. My parents want to be here. They need to be there. They want to give me comfort and they do but I’m afraid I can’t lean on them. It is not my way.

I set upon my face a mask of parental patience as I watch my two daughters make plans to go out on Halloween. Two different experiences and two different directions. I can feel the worry and anxiety bubbling up inside, threatening to spill over but the mask holds me in place. Their lives should not be altered by a disproportionate fear that I have as they walk out my front door.

On the way to Sun Peaks, I wear a mask that is gentle and serene. Like I am doing the every day, which in a way, I suppose I am. I greet my dear friends with a mixture of gratitude and love. That mask feels light, almost sheer. That mask feels the closest to my own. Perhaps because love is the most real emotion I posses. I love deep. I love with everything I have. I love soulfully. It is a souvenir that tells me life’s purpose.

But it cracks and slips as I drive up the hill. Ryan’s billboard stands before me. So lifelike. I almost feel like I can reach out and touch him. Oh god, I want that so very much.

Nancy and I sit still with tears streaming down our faces. Perhaps it is the truest form of who I am now. No filters and no mask that fits me when I feel this raw.

I am so sad.

I wake up with an ache in my heart each day.

I go to my bed with the same unending sadness each night.

Every moment in the in-between is clouded by my fear and my pain.

I am not strong enough or courageous enough to bare my true self.

So I will reach for my masks a plenty. Perhaps as time goes on, they will become fewer and fewer. Until one day, I can stand before the world as my new best self.