Do you wear a Mask?
By Sammi Hampton - March 7, 2022
Have you ever felt like you needed to be... perfect? Even though we have all been told (at some point in our lives) that "perfection" is something inevitably unattainable, we still strive for it every day... and it's exhausting.
We try so hard to box up the emotions we experience so no one will notice our "flaws," when we should be focusing on learning how to express our emotions in the most beneficial way possible. The idea of "perfection" has become a metaphorical mask that we put on to cover up our inner self. Why do we do that?
Now, I don't have the answer for why we
bottle our feelings up. Maybe it is a lack of knowing how to deal with them. Maybe it is out of fear. Maybe we think we are dealing with them by simply "forgetting." I'm not here to tell you why people box up their feelings - I'm here to try and help un-box them.
When I was little, my biological parents were not suited to raise my sister and me. Thus, we were going to be placed into the Foster Care System. At the time, I had no idea what was going on... all I knew is that my divorced parents were leaving me. I was 4 years old and my sister was 6. I was young enough at that time and I didn't fully understand the situation, but as I got older the monthly visitations to my mother and then to my father started to weigh on me. Feelings of sadness, hatred, loneliness, and self-doubt crippled my ability to sleep at night. I was, and still am, one of the most positive people you will meet. Though come nighttime when I was all alone and took my "perfection mask" off, I struggled. I still do.
I don't know when I started doing it, but during those long nights I would write poetry. It calmed me and gave me an outlet to express my emotions all on my own. It was my coping tool. Sometimes I wrote poems about my yearning to feel loved, while other times the words contained pure hatred. The emotions that I could express were limitless, and it was finally something actually perfect. Perfect just for me.
To this day, I still use poetry as a way to grieve. I feel extremely blessed that I somehow started writing during those long, dark, nights... and I urge everyone out there who is struggling with something to try and find their coping tool. You can do it alone or you can do it with others, and it can be anything - poetry, painting, yoga, dance... you name it!
If you're wearing a mask, just like I am, remember to take it off now and then and give yourself some love. Un-box your emotions piece by piece to help with the grievances that you might have. It's worth it, I promise.
The above picture is a poem I wrote about wearing the metaphorical mask that hides the way we truly feel. To the right is a poem I wrote about my Mama and Papa (Aunt & Uncle - parents who adopted me). These poems hold two very different emotions, and that is why I believe poetry is an amazing way to help express what we feel inside.