A mask is a covering for all or part of the face, worn as a disguise, or to amuse or terrify other people. A mask is meant to be used for fun. To be taken off after an event or holiday for you to return to your natural face. The face that everyone knows you as. But what would happen in you enjoyed your mask more than you regular face and started to wear it day in and day out. Besides everyone around you seeing it as strange they would also want to know what you are hiding and why you would prefer to stay behind a hot mask. Your skin would start to suffer underneath. It would be hard to breathe. You would start to lose friends. Your family would worry. You would be asked to seek help.
What if I said all of the same was true about the figurative masks we sometimes wear? Yes, its ok to throw it on real quick when you’re having a bad day but need to go to work so you mask your feelings and deal with them later. Or things are so great with your SO so you guys put on a mask and act like everything is fine while you go out with friends or family then deal with you issues later. Those are natural and OK uses for our figurative masks. But what happens when you wear that mask for too long? Your skin starts to suffer. You will appear strange if you’re happy ALL THE TIME. Your friends and family will want to know what you are hiding. It would be hard to breathe.
You cannot wear a mask forever. That is not a part of it’s purpose. I had to tell this ery same thing to myself because I had been wearing a mask for YEARS and it gets tiring waking up and making sure to remember my mask. Getting home and dealing with myself when I took my mask off at night when I was alone. Having to wear it overnight when I wasn’t able to be alone long enough to take it off and be me. It was getting hard to breath. My skin was suffering and people were trying to figure out what I was hiding.
I got tired yall. I got tired of that mask. No I am not always fine and that is OK. No, I’m not what everyone expects me to be and that is OK. I’m learning to love myself without the mask and its not easy but its worth it. Did I go cold turkey? HELL NO that’s terrifying but I made sure to start with people that I knew who would accept me no matter what and eventually started opening up (or cutting off) those who I was skeptical about. Am I mask free? NOPE. A work in progress is what I am so when I need to, I grab my mask and wear it for its intended purpose and that is ok but I refuse to wear it long enough to forget who I really am ever again.
So I’ve noticed that the closer I get to thirty the more everyone seems to be interested in my love life. I’m not just talking about my parents and family, I mean my girl friends, guy friends, strangers, people I run into at church, stangers… EVERYONE. I’m not sure if anyone else is experiencing this but its weird. I promise in the past 5 years or so conversations went from “Girl, you have all the time what are you rushing for” to “Girl you better hurry up. What’s taking so long?” “Have you heard of Tinder, Bumble, *insert any name of dating app*?” I mean its crazy. From birth to 25 yes TWENTY FIVE I was practically shamed for being interested in men or even insinuating that I may get married and have a husband one day because I needed to “focus on my goals”. I was always taught that college isn’t an option and you have no time for boys, just one degree isn’t an option, you need to stop worrying about those men and get a good salary paying job, you can afford yourself. Those men aren’t going anywhere, then it was try to start a business then it was ok you have a salary paying job now what side hustle will you be doing. Then BAM “girl why you not married”. And to be quite honest, I don’t know. In my mind I’m thinking “I’ve been out here living the life I was raised to live but not once was I taught about romantic relationships.” I grew up in a two parent home so its not like I never saw one or wanted one but I just never saw it as a priority.
I’m going to be embarrassingly transparent when saying this but at the tender age of 29, I do not know how to date. A few posts back I wrote about missing a few classes on life and this is definitely one that I missed and I know that I’m not the only one. I started to think about of the the girls “dating” in middle/high school and noticed that the experiences they were having back then I didn’t experience until my 20s.
I was talking to some friends (1 man 1 woman) at a birthday party and my guy friend asked my girl friend if she was dating anyone and what was going on with that. He was shocked when she said no. He replied by saying “ you have everything” and started to list her accomplishments and at that time she and I both answered with “But sometimes that’s too much”(keep in mind she has accomplished way more than I could imagine) and we shared experiences when our accomplishments hindered us from dating and we also joked about how the next time we are in that position that we’re just going to lie and keep that to ourselves because guys don’t want that.
Ok now before I go on, I already know somebody is sitting over there with pouty mouth and I am not trying to cause turmoil. I am not saying all men are like this and I am also not saying that women who are in relationships/marriages are not goal driven. I am saying that these are the men we have come across and these are our experiences.
I have had conversations with friends about this and how we feel about the fact that a lot of men would rather have a girlfriend/wife that they build with or help build up then one that they can combine forces with. To be honest sometimes I wish I could back and wait on somethings…but since I can’t, I’ll just continue to ride this ride.
If you are anyone else has experienced anything like this please leave a comment or send your experience to Jiibberjaaber@gmail.com. You can use your name or choose to be anonymous.
I’m writing to you from the end of my 21 day fast and I can’t say that I’m mad about my decision to go 21 days without alcohol. Going into it, I was of course worried that I wouldn’t make it (see previous post on consistency) or that I would be stuck in the house missing events. I am proud to say that neither of those things happened!!
To be honest the times that I expected to fail were the strongest days that I had. In those 21 days I hosted a birthday party at my house, endured the extended Martin Luther King break we had unexpectedly due to the Houston Blizzard of 2018, and numerous other outing with my friends and I was not tempted. I was perfectly fine drinking my lemon water and reaping the benefits of not having the extra calories added from alcohol. The times I was tempted to grab a drink were the times when I was alone. When no one was watching and no one would know. It was at those times that I had to remember what I was doing it for and it made me think about a lot of the things that we do.
In those moments after a long day of work or when I was stuck in the house for several days by myself because Houston is just not equipped for any form of ice, snow or slush, I had to really resist the urge to grab a glass of wine… It was just going to be one glass…right? Who would know? I started thinking about other things I do when I’m by myself or when I’m out and think no one is watching and I realized it’s those are the times when we show who we really are, those are the times when our integrity steps in.
Since we are in the age of social media, everybody (me included) posts what they want people to see and we don’t always get the full story or the bigger picture.There are a lot of things that we do that we wouldn’t dare post and I’ not talking about normal things that are unshareable, I’m talking about just living day to day how we treat people and how we behave behind closed doors. I’m talking about when we leave work or around our friends and take our “social masks” off, who are we?
I honestly gained more than I expected going into this fast but the biggest lesson I’ve learned was to live a life of integrity and it will definitely pay off in the long run!
For some reason I’ve been really in tune with my thoughts and feelings this year and I’ve been trying to figure out why certain things that use to be so exciting have lost their thrill. Since the beginning of this year’s holiday season, I’ve been trying to figure out where my love for Christmas went and how to bring it back and this is what I have come up with.
As a child I was always surrounded by family during the holidays and even into college, when I would come back home I would come back to family and familiarity. As the years have gone by my family has become very spread out due to the death of my grandparents and everyone going their own separate ways as they start their own families and start their own traditions. I’ve also noticed that when I’m out in stores and around the city, not much is decorated, you don’t really hear Christmas music and life goes on as usual.
As an adult, the holiday season turns into a burden. It just adds another checklist to our lives of checklists and stress draped in bright lights and pointy red hats. We stress over who’s getting what? How am I going to buy all this stuff? What are my travel plans?? Not to mention trying to party every other day which means more gifts!!!!!
This year I decided that despite the madness of the season, that I was going to enjoy and soak in every bit of this Christmas season. I decided that I was going to get back to the basic things that I loved about Christmas, and thats enjoying the scenery and having fun with my friends and family.
To set my Christmas spirit into motion, I started playing my holiday songs and went on a shopping spree (in the thrift store) for any christmas sweater or t-shirt I could find. I put up my tree and threw lights all around my house I invited my parents down to visit me. We did a little holiday shoppings, went to the AHHMAZING Christmas program at my church, took holiday pictures and hung out. Then I went and saw Christmas lights and in between stopped by an ugly sweater party and a white elephant party.
I am satisfied with the outcome of following my decision to slow down and enjoy life because I am determined to enjoy Christmas this year… and so far, I’m having a great time!!
How many times have you gone to a kickback, club, birthday dinner and there’s that one person who just doesn’t quite fit in to the group.
They try to introduce themselves and stutter and fumble on their words. They try to make small talk, it falls flat. Then they usually end up “texting” or scrolling on their phone and when it’s time to go it feels like:
That person is me…
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten choked up on my words when trying to have “casual conversation” in fear of saying the wrong thing or sounding weird. Then the conversation turns into one awkward long pause followed by a couple of words…another awkward pause…and some more words until somebody finds any excuse to walk away.
As I’ve gotten older and finally managed to have decent conversations, I’ve realized that there are more socially awkward people than I thought. Some people have just gotten better at masking it than others. I also found out that I wasn’t the only one out here feeling like:
Thanks to social media, it’s easier for us to seem social without really having to do much besides post a few cool pictures and memes every now and again but the truth always comes out when we are forced with that face to face interaction. So if you see me in public and I don’t speak, its not because I’m rude…It’s because I’m not the best at social interactions.
What would happen if you dedicated a year of your life to trying new experiences?
On July 15, 1988 a queen was born. Who’s that you ask?? ME!!! As I sit the day after my birthday and reflect on the past year all I can do is be grateful.
Backstory: this time last year I was fresh(6 months)out of a horrible but necessary breakup from a very draining relationship. Never had I imagined in that broken state that I would be the happy woman I am just a year later. Not saying my life is perfect now but I’m much better off than I was.
To get to this point of happiness, I told myself I would have a “Year of Yes. I would say “yes” to as many things as I could for a full year and see where it could get me. I had gotten so down to the point that I didn’t want to leave my house but I also knew that I needed to throw myself back in the game. I decided that I would answer yes to any invitation (within reason) I was offered.
What that do for me?
It got me out of the house!!!! I met some incredible people, had amazing experiences and I found myself again. Was it hard at first? YES! But I fought through it. I went out on days/nights when I didn’t want to ad slowly starting realizing I was having a good time and actually enjoyed being around people lol.
Did I say yes to everything?
No. I know that I require a certain amount of “recharging” time so I wasn’t at everything I was invited to just to make sure I maintained a healthy level of sanity but I did make sure that I said yes to more things than I said no to.
Ask yourself “How could a year of yes benefit me?” It could be for your social life, work life, starting a business etc. Then get out there and start saying yes!!!