Who made that mask you're wearing?

words by Brian Thompson, photo by Jennifer Picard Photography.

Who made that mask you're wearing?

It certainly doesn't look like your own. In fact, I think I saw it on TV, or perhaps it was on the front cover of that celebrity magazine I saw in the store.

Why don't you take that mask off? It's far more comfortable to just be yourself. After all, I'd rather get to know who you really are.

It's no fun pretending to be someone you're not.

When you live in such a way, "friends" can never be true, as they've never met the real you.

It's tiring trying to maintain the charade of an appearance, just to fit in with the rest of the scene that seems to define your dream. You're always having to look over your shoulder and check to make sure you're doing it right. How do I look now?

What a sham.

It wears you down. It drains your soul. It leaves you with nothing but an underwhelming and unsettling dis-ease.

The more you try to be someone you're not, the more it seems to shut out the real you. You become lost inside of yourself. You forget who you really are.

That's what living a lie will do. It's a form of cultural amnesia, a mass hypnosis by those who only want to sell you something you don't need.

It's hard to shake the shackles of your false sense of self, but striving to satisfy your vanity and ego is an utterly worthless waste of energy, because your false self will never feel fulfilled.

After all, an illusion never can be satisfied as it is quite literally, un-real. It is an untrue version of you. Sure, you can grasp at it all you like, but you'll never be able to hang on to it.

Wake up from your dream of self. Find the real you that sits underneath your carefully created appearance, and be that.

Strip away all that is false. Denial is only a temporary refuge.

Quit keeping up with the what's-their-names. It only leaves you spiritually bankrupt; there is nothing true or lasting to be gained, and everything you imagine you've acquired will only disappear in a puff of intangible smoke, as it happens in any dream.

Discard your illusion.

Be the you that only you can be and people will love you for all that you authentically are.

Think for yourself. Speak your mind. Live your truth.

Take off that mask of false identity—find the courage to be the real you.