I am a woman of many masks.
For you see, I am a different person depending upon who you ask.
For my husband I am an attentive wife, a partner in parenting, and especially, that one friend with whom you may discuss anything. The mask I wear in his company is the most transparent. Like the semi-clear plastic mime mask sold at Halloween. He can see through it to the pain and shame I try to hide. He alone seems to know the lengths to which I go to keep on going day to day.
For my children I wear the mask not only of mother, confidant, and friend, but that of school teacher and principle as well. Yes, there are days I wish I could call for a substitute, but as a homeschool mom the best I can do is assign older children to help younger or for them to watch educational television. The mask they see hides my fear that one of them will suffer as I have. It hides my worry that I’m not doing a good enough job teaching them. It fails though to hide my distracted mood. How could it possibly hide that I can no longer handle with ease long days at the zoo or a week filled with outings.
The mask my friends see only occasionally slips. It hides from them how I struggle to keep going during an afternoon visit. They may not always be able to see how I’d like to do more, to schedule more dates, but I can’t bring myself to plan ahead for fear of cancelling. It can’t hide from them my inability to concentrate in a crowded room or my withdrawal from group outings.
Ah, the mask that works the best is that of sales associate. My customers may sometimes see someone who is weary or has had a hard day. They don’t know that my shift only just started and I’m already tired, or that I’ll only be there for 4 or so hours because any more is too much.
Much of the time I’m able to maintain my smile and helpful nature.
Laughter though, is more rare.
June 2013, Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, is dedicated to Unmasking the Mystery of Chronic Headache Disorders. The 2013 Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is a project of FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.