We use masks to cover our insecurities and wounds, often placing a mask between our inner world and our outer world. What we share with others is carefully contrived to conform to a view of ourselves that we want the world to see. This is particularly true of teenagers – they like to try on different masks or exaggerate different parts of their personality as they grapple with who they are. It certainly takes a while to grow comfortable in your own skin. I think this is one of the most valuable parts of growing older. Many of us might change our older bodies for a younger version of ourselves but I know I sure wouldn’t want to go back to my sixteen year old mind. The experiences I have had – the good, the bad and the difficult have all challenged me to grow. Many of the most intense experiences of my life helped me to strip away my “masks” and really understand what was essential to me and what was not.
In this interview with Donna Thomson we talk about being real as a caregiver. The relationship between a caregiver and a care-receiver can be particularly intense and beautifully honest. There is not a lot of time for masks or posturing and this raw intensity can be the material by which we grow more human in sharing our common humanity.