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OK ONTO THE POST!
I’ll tell you what…Halloween in NYC is next level.
And Halloween in Greenwich Village is absolutely insane.
You see ALL THINGS.
I’m not kidding. Take what you’re envisioning right now and multiply it by 100.
I mean, there are dogs that have better costumes than me.
But lucky for us, we actually get to celebrate this spooky holiday twice this year — this past weekend, with the costume parties and spooky get-togethers. And then again on Wednesday for the actual trick-or-treat fest!
And as any friend-obsessed Millennial, I had a number of Halloween parties to attend this weekend.
Now, let me preface by saying that I am a serial procrastinator.
I have been all my life. Every school project or book report was put off until the night before, and completed in a scramble that would bleed into the wee hours of the morning. How I graduated with a 4.1 is beyond me.
But in true Caralyn form, Saturday morning rolled around and I still didn’t have a costume.
So I hit the streets and, as with everything else in this city, Halloween costume stores are on steroids. You’re not escaping a Party City without waiting in a line at least 45 minutes long. I learned that the hard way my first Halloween in NYC. Never did that again. So I’ve learned to skirt the system.
And so this Halloween, I knew the perfect little bizarre that had an exquisite masquerade section. So I got this gorgeous jewel incrusted mask that would have made Serena Vanderwoodsen proud.
Fast forward to the parties, and it was definitely a hit. People wanted to try it on and take a selfie with it.
It was quite the statement.
But, as with most things in life, it really made me do some deep introspection.
During my eating disorder, masks were not a foreign concept to me. In fact, I spent that entire season of life wearing the mask of “I’m okay.” Wearing the mask of a smile. And it nearly killed me.
But I would bottle up all my fears and insecurities, and wounds and vulnerabilities and hide them away, presenting to the world this picture perfect image of a girl with it all together.
And as my anorexia worsened, and my body became a walking billboard of the disorder brewing inside, people were able to see through that mask, and see the truth of a broken, hurting girl who needed help.
But one of the most liberating things in my recovery, has been taking off that mask.
I’ve learned to let the real me. out. I’ve taken off the mask of “I’m Okay,” and let people in to the mess. And here’s what I’ve learned:
It is good to be truly seen.
We all have this intense desire to be deeply loved and deeply accepted for exactly who we are: brokenness and all.
I think we wear these masks because we believe that if people saw the messy parts, the broken parts, the works-in-progress they wouldn’t love us. And then what?
But it turns out that those parts of us are exactly what make us the most lovable.
Hiding who you are and hiding your struggles and fears — it’s exhausting. It not only is emotionally draining, but it sends a subconscious message to your brain that there is something deeply flawed about you.
Recovery has taught me that we all have areas in life that we’re working on. And when we are honest about those things, and let people into our journey, not only does it strengthen a personal relationship and trust, but it encourages vulnerability in others as well.
Recovery has taught me that I don’t need to hide behind “I’m Okay” – not with others, and especially not with God.
Because the fact is, He sees it all, and loves me anyway.
He saw me standing there shivering at 78 pounds with grey skin, lifeless eyes, and a head full of peach fuzz after all my hair fell out, and He loved me anyway.
He’s not expecting perfection. But what He is expecting, is a heart that is willing to surrender. He’s looking for a heart that is willing to meet Him halfway. Willing to follow after Him, and seek His will, and try my best.
Sure, wearing that sparkly mask was fun for the night. It provided great photo ops, and gave me a killer outfit, but I’m done wearing masks. And Day One of my recovery, I vowed never to wear one again.
Because the truth of the matter is that I am worth being seen and known, just as I am.
I am worth letting people in to my brokenness, because I am worthy of love and support.
Jesus says so.
No more masks for this girl.
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77 responses to “Masks: Halloween and Otherwise”
Definitely agree with your insights on masks and their many forms… I am sure that is a concept familiar to many of us, no matter what our struggles. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you friend – yes definitely a familiar one, but always a good reminder 🙂 haha hope you have a great night! Hugs and love xox
I still have those masks and I still wear them it’s been a difficult over a year, old wounds opening up, increased anxieties, stubbornness/selfishness etc. I still that person who isn’t 100% opened up to people, I still need that protection no matter how I’m related to the person
I definitely feel you there Benny. Thank you for opening up about this. Hugs and love xox
The stubbornness is I like my own company and not too keen on other people’s company a lot lol
Haha One day at a time, my friend 🙂
Yes you are worthy of good gifts that come from The Father in whom there is no shifting of shadows. You are a daughter of the most high. 🙂
Thank you friend. No shadows with the Father – what a beautiful thought. Hugs and love xox
Awesome message! Your testimony is an inspiration! I will check out your Amazon site too! God bless you!
Aw thank you Ryan! I so so appreciate that 🙂 what are your plans for Halloween? Hugs and love xox
It is actually my wife’s birthday on Halloween! Very unique day to be born! We always have a great time! God bless!
Oh that’s so fun! Happy birthday to her! It really is 🙂 🎃🖤🎃🖤🖤🎃🎃
I will tell her, thank you! God bless you sister!
👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼Hugs and love xox
I love your vulnerability and the comparison between both literal and figurative masks!! It’s alarming how well we can hide our deepest struggles and sometimes I don’t feel like those masks can be completely removed. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Hi Eleni! Oh my gosh what a kind thing to say. You’re right – there is temporary comfort in hiding, but oh the joy of freedom! Hugs and love xox
May YOU have the great Halloween of your entire life. You do look great in the mask.
Oh gosh thank you JB! It was certainly fun to wear!! Hugs and love xox
Oh YOU are very graciously welcome. Hugs and love back to YOU!!
Hey Caralyn, great blog today! I’ve given a similar message at church to the youth group about the masks we were like being cool and funny or even shy and to go before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament giving Him our true selves even the vulnerable side. Also, I’d love more info on the mentoring program. Any tips from you would be amazing.
Thank you so much! Oh yes – masks are a big deal in middle school for sure. Absolutely! Excited to share the info! I’ll send you an email! Hugs and love xox
Love your jeweled mask, and your message here! And yes, our broken parts are what make us, us… and what help make us real and lovable. Happy Halloween! 🙂
Hey Jenny!! Thank k you so much! Yeah it was a fun mask to wear! I felt like a princess. Amen to that!! Hugs and love xox
I love reading your posts. ❤️ When I saw your title, I was intrigued because I had been working on a piece today about masks as well. Happy for you that you no longer wear a mask, because I think you shine with the beauty of God. Thanks for sharing!
Oh my gosh what a kind thing to say! Thank you so much!! Amen! No more masks!! Big hugs to you xox
You are very welcome! God bless!
Love that – the struggle part of our lives are what make us most lovable – I have yet to live that but I’m going to take your word for it! Thank you for your post!
Thank you friend 🙂 I think you’re right about that! So glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox
Caralyn, love the mask you found to wear to the parties. Excellent post on no longer hiding behind a mask of who you are not. This is what makes your posts so refreshing to read! Hugs and xoxo
Thank you! It was really fun to wear – I felt like a princess! Haha amen to a life no longer in hiding! And gosh what a kind thing to say. Thank you so much and I hope you have a marvelous Halloween! Hugs and love xox
[…] https://beautybeyondbones.com/2018/10/29/masks-halloween-and-otherwise/ […]
Hey there Tonya! thanks for sharing! hope you have an awesome day!!!
Hugs! Love you as always. XO 😄 ❤
right back atcha friend! and happy halloween!!!! xox
God bless you too!😄❤
From today’s Beautiful Morning – “Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.” This is the answer to something in a recent video about how we are all condemned. Sorry I can’t recall the specifics. That is that part of this morning’s verse that really did it for me!
Masks. Thanks for dropping yours, especially with me. My morning Quote today is about fear and how it is my “gas.” It’s what really keeps me going most times. But so does friendship and love. When I can shift out of overdrive…or when I have trouble doing that…I think about people that I love, that are family and friends. Especially on the road, I think about Julie. I think about my daughters. Last night as I was trying to calm myself after a pretty hard day, I thought about you and when we met, the peace that you gave me.
You just never know how long and far dropping a mask will reach into others’ lives. You know with me. How many do you not know about among the 40,000 who read BBB? So thanks for dropping yours!
Isn’t it amazing how God has put those things in our lives to keep us going? He really is such a loving Father 🙂 aw, I’m sorry that yesterday was a toughie. I hope that today is better. Luckily, tomorrow is the half-way point for this week 🙂 yay. You’re right about that – the world is a much brighter place when we take off our masks! And gosh – you always have such encouragement for me. I am grateful for you 🙂 Halloween hugs to you and Julie! xox
Hump Daaay!! One of my favorite commercials!
hahaha that camel is hysterical. one of my favorites too
BBB your post reminded me of two of my favorite passages from Scripture concerning how God knows everything there is to know about us and still He is merciful.
The first is Psalm 103:11-14 “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”
And the second: Eight times in Matthew 23 Jesus declared “Woe unto you” speaking to the hypocrites, (or the actors/pretenders, the ones “wearing masks”) because their lies and deception were hurting themselves and everyone around them. And yet, at the end of the chapter He still says if they would just “take off the masks”, quit pretending that He would cover them under His wings as a mother hen does her chicks. But sadly, they would not.
I am so thankful you did, and it is my prayer that you keep growing in His love and wisdom and than He cover you with His wings.
Hey Charlie! Thank you so much for this thoughtful response! Wow — that is so powerful – For He knoweth our frame indeed!! Hugs and love xox
I appreciate your honest posts. The HOLY SPIRIT rocks! About celebrating Oct 31, how would JESUS feel about it? I’m posting about it…..
Thank you so much Nancy 🙂 Yes, the Holy Spirit does!!! Great question — I think there are really two different camps — there’s the “all in good fun, excuse to dress up in silly costumes and celebrate friendship and candy and the joy of being alive” — which I think Jesus would be all for. And then there’s the camp that focus on witches and magic and the “trick” or trick or treat, and that, I don’t think He’d be on board with. Just my two cents. 🙂 Hugs and love xox
Thanks! Hugs and love xox
Bravo! You are worth being known and loved even in your brokenness and imperfection. Especially in your brokenness and imperfection. I’ve tried to tell you that before. Good to see you’ve gotten the message 😉
Masks are funny. Before recovery, we use them to hide what we think is unlovable. In recovery, we remove those masks and find freedom. And then, when we have a chance to choose literal masks, they become a new and fun way to express ourselves instead of hiding. Haven’t been to any costume parties in a few years, but when I did, I liked to choose outrageous, colorful costumes because people thought of me as quiet and reserved. But even us quiet ones need to cut loose once in a while.
Thank you so much David, oh this touched my heart so much. Yes! Definitely got the message! haha You’re right about that – there is such freedom in that! hahah totally! Halloween is the perfect time to cut loose! hahah Hugs and love xox
Thank you for posting this! I know that I personally struggle with masks, with others, with God, and with myself. And it is difficult to get rid of those masks. Especially when they’ve been in place for years. Thanks again for this post and keep up the good work!
Hey Victoria! thank you for sharing that. You’re right – it is very difficult to get rid of them. Hugs and love xox
Shel Silverstein’s poem “Blue” is like this. It’s funny, we call it “real life.” I’ve, I don’t know. Not had this experience. I’m glad you’re better.
Thanks Kenzie. I love Shel Silverstein! Hugs and love xox
Do you think there’s hmmm. Like links to your community and hiding your feelings? The doctor, I met there. It felt like, she had to be someone else all the time. It was North Cincinnati.
Minorities. Um. We have a single identity, it’s usually the reverse. People tell me, what they’ve learned about who I am. They try to, push the stereotypes (masks) on me.
I’m sorry to hear that 🙁
Its just, an observation. Make over a hundred grand a year and it’s like there’s a checklist.
Fill in all the checks. People like you. I burned my checklist. 😂😳🤷🏽♂️
Caralyn, I have been trying to catch up with your posts from the time of my Surgery 10/15/2018. Today, seeing your picture, I felt my NEW Aorta Valve take a jump. I admire your efforts to offer success to others. This a very admirable trait. There is no secret other that your willingness to be open and share your vulnerabilities. You deserve so much in Life. I hold you in my Heart, in he place reserved for the special people.
Hi friend, oh gosh thank you so much for saying that! And congrats on the new valve!!! So glad the surgery went well. Will be praying for you! Hugs and love xox
That’s a cute little eye mask 👍
Thank you Nika!! 💛
Yes we all have our masks. Doesn’t work with God as He can see right inside us and love us in spite of our humanity as you point out. No human is exempt from masks in our dealings with each other though. In this sinful world it doesn’t pay to fully take off the mask as people are not as forgiving as God and in fact can use the information you expose about yourself to discriminate or exploit. 🙂
Thanks so much Ian. You’re right – God sees all! And what a comforting thought that is! To know that He knows us and loves us anyway! Hugs and love xox
ah this made me cry. so well written as always!!! God definitely has given you a gift and you are using it which is wonderful!!!!!! XO
Aw thank friend!! Hugs and love xox
The hard part is convincing yourself that anyone would even care about those dark messy parts of yourself.
You’re right about that. Thanks Kevin. Hugs and love xox
😀🌹❤️😘😏 🔑❤️. 😀
Thank you George! Hugs and love xox
Love this! Same for me, I wore a mask for many years and it literally wore me down. I was exhausted and broken trying to be what others wanted me to be. So for me taking the mask off was my first step in walking in freedom!
Thank you for sharing your heart. Big hugs💗🤗
Aw thank you friend for sharing your story. Hooray for freedoms and being seen! Happy for you 🙂 Hugs and love xox