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Removing The Mask: How Vulnerability Can Heal Us All

Image: Becoming Human, by John Jude Palencar 

Image: Becoming Human, by John Jude Palencar 

I am so tired of all the posing. Honestly. There comes a point when keeping up the facade is simply not worth the effort anymore, when you realize that there’s actually nothing to protect yourself against. Honesty itself is the only way one can ever be truly free. If I’m afraid, I’m going to say it. If I’m worried, pissed, frustrated, jealous, I’m going to admit it. Fuck it. Keeping this stupid plastic mask on all the time is complete denial. It grants license to all kinds of unhealthy deviance. It is the ground on which comparison gains life, on which competition arrives at strife; it is the place where fears fester into obsession and fetishes come to acceptance; it is the avenue that the pedophile walks, the corridor through which the serial killer stalks; it is the foundation out of which the pillars of the global corporatocracy and all of its psychopathic, suicidal tendencies have grown. It is denial, and denial will only ever result in one of two things: a slow and miserable death or an explosion of pain. 

Honesty is the antidote. If we were all honestly devoted to brutal honesty itself, the predators among us could no longer hide. It is our terrible, psychotic insistence on allowing such a narrow focus of emotions in our day to day interactions  and all of our playing along within those restrictions  that makes it possible for those with truly deep issues to go unseen. If we were all unanimously committed to being transparent in our emotional states, in allowing naked honesty into all of our interactions, we would in turn be making the greatest move in cutting away the deepest shadow aspects of the collective. 

This is the power of honesty. This is the power of committing yourself to allowing your vulnerability to show. In being nakedly human. It is a movement in exact opposition to the world as we’ve designed it. The world would have you cover up. The world would have you suppose that what may be happening in the head of those around you is in fact more important than what’s happening inside of you. Stay within the boundaries, it says, or else. This whole paradigm has each and every one of us acting as its enforcers, while, at the same time, terribly imprisoned to it. Could there be any more of a clear definition of insanity? 

Here is the world. It is beautiful. You are born of it. Come, walk in its light, play in its shadows, be everything you were meant to be. Yet — wait a moment — there is another, and another, also given the same freedoms. Can they see me? They can. I can see them, so of course they can see me. This is not right. I cannot play in the sun. I must cover up. I must dress myself. I cannot have fun in the shadows. They will see me. I will lock myself inside. 

And so we put on the plastic smiles. Staring out from the eyeholes, sweating behind the mask. And we wonder how the sociopaths walk amongst us. How could they not? The world has been designed for them. It is more their home than ours. We can’t beat them at this game, not as long as we continue to play. 

It is time for us to see this, and to realize that we are perpetuating an outmoded version of reality. Posing, in any form, is cowardice. Giving life to one dishonest expression - when we could otherwise have chosen openness - is granting the world power over the self. Living truthfully is realizing your power and stepping out. It is understanding that you do not have to be perfect before you take your clothes off. It is total acceptance, a baring of one’s humanity, a willingness to be completely flawed and exposed in this moment now, and in so doing, come finally into wholeness. 

It is OK to not be OK. It is, in fact, totally human. It is more human than we’ve ever been, more real than any of us are willing to be on a day to day basis in the Cleaver-esque version of reality we’ve set up for ourselves. And it is only you that can do it. There is no one available, other than you, that can take that first step. Lord knows the others around you aren’t about to. The room needs healing, and it’s up to you to do so. How? By revealing that you yourself are still in the process of healing. That you are scared, imperfect, insecure, envious, unsettled, weird, angry, all of it. You step out of the house and undress in the sun, in front of everyone.

And while it will undoubtedly be the scariest thing you’ve ever done, in this devastating display of humanness you will grant others the right to do the same. There are those, of course, who will constrict further, who will label you and sink into judgement, call you a blasphemer and set an attack against you, but it makes no difference. The deed is done. You have walked naked into the sun and exposed yourself for the world to see, and believe me, there are far more who will recognize your truth than not. Even if they outwardly deny it, their insides will weep in the recognition of it, and in that silence they will celebrate your triumph, for you have given them permission, whenever they are ready, to do the same. 

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