During the time when my father was in hospital, towards the end of 2011, I did my best to carry on as normal. This would typically mean that I would act as though I was happy and that everything was fine.
But as I had been this way for most of my life, it wasn’t as if I was doing anything new; it was simply business as usual. This meant that there were a number of people where I worked who were not aware of what I was going through.
A Select Few
My close friends knew what was going on and they were supportive; however, there was only so much that they could do. If the mask that I was wearing had dropped, it would have been clear that I was under a lot of stress.
And, after my father had passed on, I tried my best to behave in the same way. Ultimately, I had the need to please others, and this meant that I had to ignore what was taking place within me.
A Certain Role
Now, it wasn’t that everything I came into contact wanted me to play this role; it was that this was the role that I believed I had to play. From a very young age, I came to see that it wasn’t safe for me to express my emotions or to listen to my own needs.
Disconnecting from my true-feelings and needs and creating a false-self was how I survived. And as I grew up in a guest house, it was important for me to create the right impression, which meant that my true feelings often had to be covered up.
Keeping It Together
So, as I had been conditioned to behave in this way for many, many years, this was what felt comfortable. This then ended becoming who was, as opposed to a role that I had to play.
It became harder for me to maintain this act after my father had passed on. A few weeks after he had passed on I went out for the night and I just couldn’t get in the mood.
It Was an Illusion
Towards the end of that year or the following year, I remember speaking to a family friend, and he said something that I remember to this day. We were having a conversation, and at the end he said “you are always happy!”
I think I smiled and laughed, and this might even have been a moment in my life when I was happy, but what he said wasn’t true. Still, he didn’t know this, and he probably never will.
The Mask Fell Off
As time went by it got even harder for me to wear this mask, and when a relationship that I was in came to an end in 2013, it finally came crashing down. I could no longer behave in the same way after this; I had to face what was going on within me.
When this happened it was incredibly painful, but as I worked through this pain it gradually got easier. My false-self began to fall away, which meant that my false-self started to see the light of day.