What Does Your Mask Look Like?

Sometimes we put on a show for people around us. It's okay to not be okay sometimes.

Some days I wake up exhausted. I’ve slept through the night and gotten the required amount of sleep as per the experts. Still, I find myself utterly exhausted. Sunday through Tuesday has become that way for me. On Sunday you will find me up by six a.m. to prepare the Gonzalez masses for the masses. Some Sundays the kids have religion classes; on the off Sunday there’s choir, which also practices every Monday from what I call "the witching hour" to bed time at seven p.m. My oldest one has drama that meets on Tuesdays after school until the witching hour, better known as 5:15. Tack on three home- cooked meals a day for seven to nine people and I’m not sure how I have a hair left on my head. So I juggle and I struggle and I manage and I supervise and I coordinate and I execute and I do and do and do and do until it’s all done!

Somehow people seem to think I’ve mastered this and call me names like “super mom” or “hero”. I’m over here with this vacant look on my face wondering if they see the bags under my eyes or maybe I am asleep right now. This all came into perspective recently when a friend of mine came over. She has four boys ranging in ages from one to ten years old. She always looks so calm. Never raises her voice and is always very collected. I decided to tell this friend how I envy her saintly demeanor in regard to her boys. She looked at me blankly and said, “Really? Because I’m screaming on the inside!”

Isn’t it odd that we never really know what is happening behind the curtain in a person’s life? Depending on the mask they wear, we may think their life is a constant rainbow but it could be quite the opposite. Every day we wake up and make the choice to put on our mask. We choose happiness or we choose sadness but we don’t always show those feelings on the outside.

I once sat next to a woman and simply asked, “Hey, how are you?” Not expecting at all that she wasn’t okay because she always seemed so composed and collected. Her eyes welled up with tears as she began to vomit her life and the ebb and flow of it all. I was in shock because I could have sworn she was the most happy person I’d ever met. While she was always wearing a smile on the outside, she inwardly had a poop emoji in there. Just crappy. I hated that I expected her face to match her feelings. I absorbed all of the things she said and really had to stop and take a moment to let it marinate.

It’s okay to not be okay all the time. Life is not always going to be rainbows and sunshine, we have to prepare for the storms even if they don’t come. But that doesn’t mean that we have to BE okay.

Life is a series of events and moments that come and go. Passing time and turning pages. New chapters and old endings. Not every one of those things will be great. Someone will die. You’ll lose something. Objects will break. And that’s okay. In those moments we have to believe that God is working for our good. We have to have the faith and give it to him. We have to be willing to say, “thy will be done.” As someone once told me, “When in a funk just add ‘y’.” When those times come and you can’t muster up a smile...muster up a prayer. One that I’ve found most helpful in my life is the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.

​Be Safe, Be Great, Be YOU! Amen

Reality Changing Observations:

Q1. How do you slam dunk a funk you are feeling?

Q2. How has prayer helped in your hard times?

Q3. What are some other ways to care for your mental health?

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Jeannelle Benek
Jeannelle Benek

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Well said. Prayer is my ultimate stress reliever.



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