Behind the Mask
I am not enough
I am too much
I am not smart enough
I am a know it all
I am too loud
I am too soft
I am pushover
I am a bulldozer
I care too much about what people think of me
I am too honest
I am not honest enough
I am bad mother
I am a bad wife
I am a bad daughter
I am not worthy of love
I am a disappointment
I am too much of everything and not enough of anything.
I read between the lines too much and never take things at face value.
What Comes With The Metaphorical Mask Of An Adoptee?
I am constantly reminding myself to have a growth mindset. However, it is extremely easy for negative ideology to take over my thoughts and actions. My inner voice is influenced by family, friends, society, culture, and my own expectations.
The voices around us become extremely convoluted to a point where we do not know who we are, and what we want. A metaphorical mask hides so many distinct parts of ourselves. People choose to hide behind a metaphorical mask for several reasons.
Fear of judgment is one of the primary reasons people hide behind a mask. The fear of being judged or rejected by others is heavy and can dictate how that individual connects with others. As an adoptee, I constantly struggled with trying to fit in and doing everything in my power to not stand out.
Some individuals may hide behind a mask as a defense mechanism or a means of survival. People who have experienced past traumas, and betrayals may be weary of vulnerability.
People often feel pressure to conform to society’s expectations, behavior, standards, and norms. This causes the individual to hide aspects of themselves that might be considered unacceptable or unconventional. A strong desire for acceptance or belonging can be the driving force for some people regarding hiding their true selves to fit in.
Insecurity and Low Self Esteem
Authenticity is a quality that I highly value. But individuals with low self-esteem, or lack of confidence may feel ashamed or inadequate in who they are. This mindset can hinder genuine authenticity, and block appreciation for others.
Privacy and personal boundaries are important. Not everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts, emotions, and childhood experiences with others. Sometimes people prefer to maintain a level of privacy and to keep certain things about themselves hidden. Acquaintances, friends, and families may struggle with this truth.
We Are Worth More Than Our Metaphorical Mask
Wearing a metaphorical mask does not necessarily mean deception or ill intent. It can be a natural response to navigating social dynamics, and a sense of privacy. However, for genuine connection and personal growth, it is often helpful for individuals to gradually show their true selves to trusted individuals or communities where they feel safe and accepted.
I have had the privilege of speaking to and connecting with different adoptees. One of the most common themes amongst the adoptees is that we feel as though we cannot show our true selves. Our true selves are often hidden behind our adoptive family, or the world’s expectations of adopted children. I have said it before, and I will say it again, wearing a metaphorical mask was a means of survival. Navigating culture, identity and family is hard.