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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Robbins

Behind the Mask

I have been wondering about identity and appearances. The times in my life where I have been free to be myself. As I ventured down that rabbit hole, I began see all of the event and times in my past where I couldn’t be myself. Being who I am, would be inappropriate, it is unprofessional. To go forward and and to be successful I had to look a certain way. I not only had to look a certain way, I had to behave a certain way. In that behaviour, speak a certain way.

How I was expected to look and behave for work. The Brandon I was expected to be among friends, which might be different from how I behave in front of my family. There is also my clubs and community connections, the expectations the come from them. I wonder if I could ever feel comfortable being myself?

It was easy to lose myself in it all. Everything about me disappeared behind masks and a costumes, my daily life was a series of performances, a character was born, the more I put the uniform on the more I disappeared, and I became someone else. As I think and reflect more there are many other situations I found myself donning a mask and a sort of costume. Moments where I felt I wasn’t safe to be myself, my guard was up and I found myself lost in the walls of a labyrinth built by my mistrust. I needed to trust but I had no such bounds with anyone. The people noticed and acknowledged the costumes and the masks, calling out an alias instead of my name. I was a living nesting doll. Walking in the world as someone else other than myself. I don’t know why…

I was somehow reminded of a teaching. In it was a story of a woman who had the ability to change her form. As long as she had a bit of clothing or a pelt and she could change into that person or that animal - to better experience the world though the perspectives of whom the clothing belonged. Only if she wore it too long she would forget who she was and risked becoming that person or being forever. I am reminded of that risk, I don’t quite remember who I am underneath these costumes.

With that in mind I have begun to shed the wrapper of these expectations. Explore what it means to be me… seeing it reflected back. Somehow find myself in the labyrinth I built for myself. Get to know him, and show him the trust he needs, perhaps he’ll find the courage to let other see him, as I have seen myself. I’m not exactly sure what or how. Only that it is described as moments of vulnerability. These moments give others permission to see and discover who Brandon is? As I am learning and discovering more about who I am.

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