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Do you have a mask you present to the world? Are there moments when being you just doesn’t work?

For me … yes.

Does it suck?

Yes.

Sometimes smiling and nodding is easier.

I have returned from spring break. Every year we go to my parents’ house and then my in-laws. I have a great time visiting with my parents, my sisters, nieces, brothers-in-law! We laugh, we chat, we eat! Then we get to my in-laws …

Do you know the painting ‘American Gothic’? You know … the one with the old man and woman farmers with pitchforks? That would be my in-laws. No kidding. I put them in the category of opposite of me. They watch the news and discuss all the things wrong with the world. It’s a bit depressing really.

Blah.

I long to add sparkle and laughter, but whenever I try, they don’t hear it. I learned a long time ago that when they ask questions they want simple answers, no stories, no deep thoughts. So I tuck who I am away in my head and wait for them to address me. When they do, I give short answers. When my father-in-law goes on a rant about all the bad things I smile and nod.

They don’t know me. If I did say ALL THE THINGS, they wouldn’t like me. So I exist as their son’s wife, the mother of their grandkids.

Aaaaaand I’m pretty sure they think I should get a real job. Writing is not.

They don’t do fiction. They don’t read books. They don’t like art. They like the news and reality shows with way too much yelling where people chop down trees or hunt for gold.

They’ll never know …

The news depresses me. I am not interested in how many deaths have occurred because of swimming pools (we have a pool and they like us to know they are not fans), and most of all I don’t want to be covered in sad, dark thoughts.

They’ll never know …

I believe in fairies, magic, and ghosts. My mind is full of everything wondrous and creepy … ideas, stories, characters, and worlds. I can write, maybe not brilliant, but pretty darn good. I can draw too.

They’ll never know the real me. And that’s how it is.

They’re missing out on life by focusing on the negative. Sure, knowing me and all my quirks and opinions will not make their life complete, but they will miss the smiles and magic I share. So everything that really makes me me … stays hidden when I’m with them. I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want to be lectured.

I want to BE.

So around them I am a shadow of me. They have no idea what I think. They have no idea who I am.

They are missing all my awesome. I can’t share my wonderfully different view of the world with them because they can’t, or won’t, see it.

I am guilty of always saying … just be you! And I believe that. And now when I am finally really comfortable being me, I hold back at times. Maybe being me around people who just won’t get me isn’t worth it.

Anyone else wear a mask? Are there people who will never know who you really are?

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