As mama, I wear many masks. Before I was a mother, anticipating the birth of my first daughter, I wore the “everything’s going to be just fine mask”… despite my critical examination of new mothers intact bodies and their obvious survival of birth. I was not convinced I would survive. I was not even convinced everything was going to be ok. But I wore it. And it was and is–OK.
Corbin is almost ten, and Anna is seven. I gave birth TWO times. And I lived through it.
During their childhood, I, like every other mama, have worn the protective mask. The one that subdues the “YOU COULD HAVE KILLED YOURSELF!!” anger or the “don’t cry, everything is alright” mask that, like a levee, holds back your own storm of tears. I’ve worn the light mask of love and astonishment that smiles with ease at their growth and development. Their laugh, their grasp of life and concepts… their sweet inquisition, and peaceful understanding. I’ve worn the mask of panic–the one that, with large eyes and bated breath realizes they really are growing right before my eyes and I’ll never have this time with them, again. The mask of gratitude sits quietly and observes with grace the beauty of the blessings I have received in being a mother.
I’ve worn the death mask of paralyzation. The one that, with utmost opacity blocked any ability to breathe but hardly attempted to hide the confusion, devastation, and anger beyond belief, in the death of my father.
I’ve adorned the phantom mask; the one lined in soft relief below sharp shards of years of hope, devotion, memories, sadness, and abused emotions… as my soul began its mend during the process of my divorce.
It is with absolute humility, that I’ve obtained the mask of a soul mate. It’s completely invisible. It’s truth highlighted in the glow of unconditional love. It’s palpable, and sometimes contagious. It makes all other masks quieter and life easier, happiest. It’s with my loveliest lady souls, and my best man– that this light covers me. The mask of the soul mate offers peace, laughter, and completeness.
It’s amazing to consider all the ways in which a rich life can be worn, in all its intricate subtleties and immutable elation…upon your unique face.
*What masks do you wear? What were your anxieties in regards to giving birth?