Monday, September 8, 2008

Masquerade Ball vs Masquerade Life

Before I even start with today's entry, let me say I found the most amazing site: Here you can create design boards like the one above. I am looking forward to putting my creativity to use and seeing what I can come up with. Maybe some of you will find this intriguing as well. My applause to the person who designed the above "masquerade ball" ensemble. I'd love to post your name and give you credit. Great work!

Ladies, it's time to talk again about "mask wearing" click the following link to read the first enstallment on this tantalizing subject:

Dressing up for a Masquerade Ball can be great fun and provide an evening of mystery for those invited. However, if we were to remain hidden beneath our elaborate get-ups, over time, we might be tempted to think we are who the costume portrays.

Last time, we took a peek behind the Poor Me Mask. Today, let's look at the Tough Girl Mask. The following snipet of a Tough Girl is from a project that I'm working on with co-author, Dr. Kathy Rodriguez -- Real Women Don't Wear Masks: Removing False Faces.

In 1978, Grease, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John hit the big screen with a flurry of media attention. This musical far exceeded the expectations of its producers and has gone on to become an all-time cult classic. Most of you know the story: sweet girl (Sandy) meets nice boy (Danny) on summer vacation; school starts and sweet Sandy is now attending Danny’s high school; she discovers nice boy is really a bad boy, black leather jacket and all; Sandy meets up with the female versions (Pink Ladies) of Danny’s greaser-gang, The T Birds, and romance, dancing, car racing, and a lot of “mask wearing” ensues.

Yes, mask wearing.

Let me explain. In fact, let’s start with Danny, obviously a nice, caring guy attracted to a very conservative young lady. Who is Danny, really? Is he a polite young man or a cocky gang leader? I believe the soft, gentle guy is the “real” Danny, but for whatever reason, Danny has chosen to wear the big bad, I’m cool and tough, mask. He is accepted by his peers when donning that particular mask. It’s become his identity.

Sandy, who meets up with the Pink Ladies, and is influenced by their charismatic leader, Rizzo, makes the decision that to be truly accepted by Danny, she has to become a tough girl. Her entire appearance changes as she costumes herself with a whole new identity. At one point, Rizzo sings a song, revealing her true feelings, “I don't steal and I don't lie / But I can feel and I can cry / A fact I bet you never knew / But to cry in front of you / That's the worst thing I could do.” After all, “big girls don’t cry,” right?

So it is with most of us gals that put on tough-girl identities. We’re hiding for fear of being hurt, again.

Ah, the ever-popular tough girl, yep, that was me ― hard as steel on the outside, wimpy and mushy inside. After the swim team debacle I (Carol) changed. My trust level was pretty much nonexistent, and I made it a top priority for people to take notice of my new persona by behaving in some fairly unbecoming ways.

In junior high I ran track. After a track meet, we were all still on the bus waiting to exit when an older boy noticed that I had a big ugly pimple on my nose. I think he referred to me as Rudolf the red nose you know what. Before the sure-to-follow laughter erupted, I socked Mr. Pimple Pointer right in his noggin. No one was laughing at me after that. Although I was suspended for a day, I felt proud of this display of my new tough fa├žade.

Have you ever noticed? After one or two violent episodes, people just look at you differently. All I had to do now was give someone “the look” and they gave me a nice wide space.

Wearing the Tough Girl Mask allows you to build a moat, or well-fortified wall around your life. And although I thought my toughness was protecting my heart, I, like Rizzo, had a whole lot of tears and a ton of grief hiding just beneath my mask. However, I was too afraid to remove this false face for fear of being hurt ― again.

As I grew older, I was so afraid of being abandoned and hurt again, I’d vacillate between pushing people away and relentlessly attempting to control every aspect of their lives. This proved especially true in romantic relationships. I acted big and bad on the outside, yet at the threat of losing that special person, I’d take care of everything in my man’s life to make myself indispensable. I was also the one all my girlfriends came to for advice; after all, I was tough, wise, and together. Little did they know!

The truth remains; wearing a false face is a lie. God is the God of truth. His enemy, our enemy the ― devil ― is a liar. When we are dishonest in any way, we’re walking on the wrong side of the street, and headed for one big accident.

Now, I have to admit, honestly, there were some major benefits to pretending to be tough, but there were far more complications and headaches than I can begin to describe. When I accepted Christ, finally, I was still attempting to superglue this crumbling mask together. It didn’t take long for it to completely disintegrate under God’s loving touch.

To learn more about removing this mask, watch for the next entry!

Quick note: We often hide behind masks after making a vow, or in some cases vows. Here are some of the vows that I made before putting on this particular mask:

Considering my heart-wrenching circumstances, I made two decisions that would affect my life for years to come, decisions that would alter my destiny.

1. I believed the lies that were spoken to me and about me.
I’m worthless.
I’m a failure.
Nobody likes me.
I’m not worth fighting for.
Friends will betray me.

2. I made a vow. I would become popular, cool, and tough. That way I could remain in control of my heart. (So I thought).

The stage had been perfectly prepared for me to pick up and put on my Tough Girl Mask. For years, I wore this mask well, attempting to conceal my fear of not being loved and accepted. “I’ll hurt you before you hurt me” became my motto. Eventually, though, I discovered what we all figure out at some point in life ― our masks don’t mask the pain forever.

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