This quote from Oscar Wilde is interesting to say the least. I totally disagree; I believe we do wear a mask to hide our insecurities and more. While reading a recent book by Jeff Nischwitz, “Unmask: Let Go of Who You’re Supposed To Be & Unleash Your True Leader”, I have found myself really thinking back over my life about this topic of to mask or not to mask. In the last day, this has really come home to me with a medical diagnosis that was a little surprising to me.
Medical situations often lead us to introspection and trying to figure out our lives. In so doing over the past 24 hours, I have come to many conclusions about wearing a mask in my life, and there is no doubt I did:
- I wore a mask my whole childhood to be the perfect child for my parents.
- And then I wore a different mask to be the perfect child so that friends would not know the dysfunctional household with a undiagnosed narcissistic mother that I was a part of.
- Still yet, in high school, I wore the mask of the geek although that was not what I wanted to be.
- In college, the mask changed a little because I wanted to be included in the sophisticated group who were so much more aware of the world than I was.
- The mask came off for a short while when I began working where I was accepted for who I really was.
- Then the mask of being the married woman appeared at least until I was unable to become pregnant, and I went back to being the career woman.
- Until the mask of a mother appeared with an adoption of my oldest son.
- And the mask of mother really bloomed when I did become pregnant with my youngest son.
- But the mask wore thin when I went back to school to finish my degree.
- Only to begin wearing the mask a few years later of the single mother following an unwanted divorce!
- Etc., etc. etc.
So the masks of my life kept reappearing even though they changed with each role.
But yesterday, the longest, biggest mask was ripped off of my face and out of my soul with the diagnosis of full blown diabetes. For many years, I have fought it off working to become healthier and healthier with what I ate, what I did, and the holistic practitioners I frequented. I really thought it was my reality, that I was getting healthier, and then a sudden jump in my A1C numbers threw me over the dividing line. Decisions had to be made. Was I going to continue down the path of controlling the situation with healthy, clean eating? Or was I going to go the way of traditional medicine?
For the first time in years, I had to face my reality, and the masks began to peel off. For the first time ever, I was in front of a doctor, a woman I need to mention, who literally took me on and participated as a woman in the discussion of my life. She put the numbers out there with all of my test results and what the history of numbers like mine have brought about in her experience. But more than that, she really cared. She really understood my dislike of medicines, shots, etc. Two hours worth of discussion including a part of my diagnosis from the numbers that no one had ever totally addressed before. The history of liver problems in my family as well as my early gallbladder surgery, liver damage following the prescribing of an arthritis medication that went unmonitored by the physician leading to a major enzyme imbalance situation that necessitated work with a liver specialist, and more. But no one ever took the time to really look at where I was in the total health picture and what the connection was to the diabetes. And there is a connection, which I am not going into here because this is really all about the masks of my life. And so now we are really looking at the liver’s role in this diagnosis and how we keep the mask off and get back to health that will allow me to live the life I dream of–active, youthful, healthy all the way into the end of the first decade of the second century of my life. With more work with the diabetes team of Healthspan Cleveland–I was there literally all day–my decision was made.
Yes, I was going to have medication; yes, I was going to monitor my blood sugar, and more. Their process at Healthspan made all of the difference in the world. The doctor made the biggest difference since she was so different than any medical practitioner I had ever encountered before. But the biggest difference was that I removed the masks yesterday and brought into focus who I am and who I want to be when I reach the age of 104 plus. If this is what I need to do to achieve that dream, then so be it. I have gone from the holistic believer that nutrition and thought can keep you healthy and overcome anything to the holistic believer who feels that God puts the right people in your life at the right time to save you from your own potential folly, to make sure that now that you are doing what you have been meant to do for your whole life that your life will not end prematurely because of a philosophical belief that the traditional medical field is all screwed up.
Yes, I am doing what is my passion and mission in life, and I need to keep doing it as long as possible. So God put a wonderful woman into my life yesterday through a series of synchronistic moves over the past weeks, a woman who could take on my beliefs with respect and intelligence to prove what I have always said: “I am a Scorpio. Things are black and white, no gray. I maKe decisions easily, and they are black and white; but give me enough evidence that I am wrong, and I will change my mind.”
Yesterday, I changed my mind big time. Many masks came off. Twenty four hours later, I have all I need to become healthy: a blood glucose monitor that I already know how to use and have; a sharps container and I know what happens when I have to dispose of it; new medication that I have begun to take; a new meal plan and a wonderful new school of knowledge of carbohydrates and how to weigh them on my new scale. The mask of thinking I am healthy is off. Yes, I am still a believer in holistic medicine but there comes a time when the mask is off and you say to yourself : I cannot do this by myself, and the biggest mask of all for me: ” I am woman hear me roar and I can take care of myself” is off. I now know I need help to be who I am meant to be.
And to quote Noel DeJesus who was quoted in “Unmask…”
“Continuously lying to yourself is just as fatal as suicide, only slower. Take ownership of your life, be accountable to you.”
Yes, I am.