Peeking Out from Behind the Mask

I’ve never been much of a Hallowe’en person. I rarely dress up, and I must confess that I make sure I’m not home during peak trick or treating hours. But all of the Hallowe’en posts and tweets today have set my mind on masks and disguises that we wear on other days.

I’m not a philosopher, by any stretch. I don’t spend hours mulling these kind of things over in my head. I never think I’m intellectual enough. But I know that I’ve been guilty of putting on a mask to face the world – in fact, I think I have several.

There’s the happy face, even when I’m down, the confident face when I’m unsure, the social face when I’m feeling like I want to be alone. I don’t think I’m unique. We all do it. It’s expected of us. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. We want to fit in. And I think these faces, these masks we hide behind are necessary sometimes. In my case, they keep me going when life gets tough.

But I am learning to simply be more comfortable in being myself, even when the urge to grab one mask or another is tempting. After all, this is me, warts and all, and I and the rest of the world better get used to it:-) It’s giving the phrase “face value” a whole new meaning for me.

How about you? What mask do you want to grab today? And can you, will you, leave it hanging where it is?

Coconut Mask Collection

Coconut Mask Collection (Photo credit: cybertoad)

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Hot Baths and Cold Comforts

This week, I rediscovered a truth about myself. Not in a My-God-what-a-revelation kind of way, mind you. More like a quiet realization that there are  basic things that I need to feel happy and be me. Like hot water.

I was without for three days, and I definitely suffered. I was a miserable, surly, uncomfortable lump. Not just because I couldn’t do my dishes and wash myself without boiling water, but mostly because I couldn’t have a proper bath in my old tub that keeps the water hot for a blissfully long time.

I love baths. My whole family does. For me, it’s a healing place that soothes the arthritis in my back. It’s been a favourite place to read. it’s been the place where I’ve closed the door and bawled my eyes out when life got to be too much over the past two years. It’s my place where I can be alone, where I can relax, where I can think. Or not:-)

I plan to lose myself – and find myself too – in a hot bubble bath today. I can’t wait. The little things can be just as important, just as precious, as Big Stuff. Perhaps even more.

Did you make any discoveries this week? Did little things make a difference in your world? How did you feel? I’d love to know.

I’ll read your feedback later. After my bath.

Three rubber ducks in foam bath

Three rubber ducks in foam bath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Holding On and Letting Go

I’m sitting in my friends’ shady patio, listening to a silence broken only by the birds and the light fall breeze. I’ve been in California for a month now, and like every time I’m down here in what was once my home, I dread leaving. Despite living in and loving Vancouver, the Bay Area wil always be a lifeline and a refuge for me. I can’t – no, I won’t let go.

It’s not unusual for people to hold on. How many times have we clung to family and friends at the airport or train station, cried at going-away parties and grieved at memorial services? We hold on to dreams, we hold on to hope. But sometimes, we hold on too long. We reach a point when we have to admit that it’s time to finally let go. I learned that with my late husband Dave as he suffered through a long battle with heart failure and finally died. And I’ve just gone through another painful process this wek.

For too long I’ve been storing many of my most treasured possessions from my time living and working in Silicon Valley. I’ve been paying too much keeping my previous life within the concrete walls of unit 3103, hoping against hope that some new job would come along, that at my age I’d still have the chance to obtain a work visa in the US, that everything would be the same again. But of course, nothing will ever be the same again. So I’m finally, painfully, letting go.

Two junk trucks have been and gone. Dear friends have taken some lovely and useful things. I’ll be shipping some treasured books, bells and old photos back to Vancouver. And there’s nothing left but an empty storage unit that will soon be filled again with the remnants of someone else’s life.

It’s been hard. Only Dave’s illness and death, and my mother’s declining health have been harder to bear. I’ve shed many tears sifting through box after box. So many reminders of so much… But it’s done, and it is not only necessary, but it will eventually be liberating once the ache in my heart goes away. I will soon cherish my memories without forever clinging to a life that won’t happen again. And I’ll also be strong enough to free myself to look forward and make new choices, follow new paths, and embrace new adventures. Lucky me:-)

But I’ll still cry every time I say goodbye.

What are you holding on to?

unit 3103

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