Face to Face by Indu Balakrishnan

We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin. 

Considering the current COVID situation, it is very easy to mistake the above quote. Nope. This is not about the mask to keep the virus out. This is about the one that keeps the real us inside. The side that we would either not want to show anyone, or what is reserved for select people. This is human nature. There are relationships where you give it your best. And then ones where you show the real you. 

Sometimes, we have so many of these masks, we tend to forget the real us. Sooner or later, you will need to come face to face with yourself to see yourself as you really are. When you look at yourself in the mirror, for instance, what do you see? I’m talking about more than the makeup and the hair and the physical appearance. Have you ever stopped to see who you are? Look yourself in the eyes? Ask yourself if this is what you want to be? Or where? 

This lockdown, for instance, might have made you realise a lot about yourself. Your relationship with the people you live with. Your life as you see it. With a varied routine when you are able to step out and be around people you are not related to, it does bring a nice change to your day. Now, with the lockdown, and the compulsion to see your spouse and kids ALL THE TIME, you are more than likely to lose your temper and tolerance more often than you would like to. This just re-empahsizes the quote – distance makes your heart grow fonder. 

The face that you see on such occasions might not be a pleasant one. You’d want to set a good example to your kids by being made of sugar, spice and everything nice. Occasionally that ‘X’ ingredient that you try to keep hidden pops up when you lose it. And that’s a face you usually keep well hidden. Truth be told, kids know exactly how to bring it out. And it’s not even a compliment. They know the button and they aim and push it when they can. Oh well!!

Back to the topic. It’s another face you should look at in the eye and learn to ‘face’ it when it pops up. Some of us have worn the mask of humour and sarcasm.  This allows us to use humour and biting remarks to keep us from allowing people to get too close. Sometimes we wear the victim mask, always wanting others to feel sorry for us.

Strong people have a ‘I’m ready to face the world’ face. We all need to be strong to take on any curveball that life throws at us. That curveball might need a specific trait to be tossed out of the park. And to do that, you cannot be soft, sweet or kind. It might require a mean streak. It could mean you need to do something that is completely out of character. But that is the challenge. And it requires you to create another face. Which is totally fine. 

And then there is the child like one that you bring out when with other kids. The one that is fun, excited and peppy. I have that face exposed a lot. It’s a pretty face and brings similar reactions around me. And lifts spirits as well. It’s the face I keep on more often than not. 

Don’t ignore the one that is filled with pain and sadness.  Mentally strong people keep that face in check as well. You do not have to feel happy all the time. If you know how to shift your emotions, you can keep yourself from staying stuck in a place of pain. That’s when the peppy face can come out. But being mentally strong is not about ignoring your pain and stifling your emotions. It is about knowing when and to whom to show that side. Keeping it all in never helped anyone. Trust me. And Dr.Phill. 

You are made of many faces. What you decide to show is completely up to you. But you owe it to yourselves to know which one is which. And who you really are. It’s time to get face to face with yourself. 

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