Masking The Pain: My Story
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask.” Jim Morrison, Singer-Songwriter
"Be Yourself. Everybody is taken." Oscar Wilde
Most of us suffering with depression have two or more personalities. I am divided in half. One side happy. One side sad. What those who are not depressed do not realize is that we who are depressed live two or more different lives. One inside. One outside. The other one who knows?
I started learning how to mask my pain at an early age. At three years old I was stricken with polio and my father left because he did not want to deal with a handicapped child. It was bad for his image in business. I was raised by a hard working mother and a brother that would lock me in the closet after school until my mother came home from work. When I cried out for help my mother said that I was the problem and that now my brother was the man in the family since my dad was gone. I never knew or spoke with my father. However, when he died his ashes came to me in an Overnight UPS Express Package. That was the only time I held my dad, ashes and all. I fell to my knees and cried.
Sure I can tell you more sad stories growing up that could validate my depression but, I also lived a charmed life after leaving home. As a world traveler in the early 80's I was named head of International Protocol for the Citibank Headquarter Offices in New York City. Working daily with the UN, Ambassadors, Diplomats and high-net worth clients. Three years later I left the bank and my first book was published by Simon and Schuster. My book was titled, The Global Edge: How Your Company Can Win in the International Marketplace. The rights were sold worldwide and my life suddenly changed. I was now an author with an Honorific tile, First Lady of Protocol. I thought I had made it when I was featured on the front page of the Sunday Style Section of the New York Times. No longer a poor cripple child that was fatherless. I had made a mark for myself in life with little support from my immediate family.
Oh yes, I also started my worldly sojourns early in my teens as a Cruise Directress, married in the Bahamas to a singer and lounge lizard that I met at The Paradise Island Casino. He soon left me for a AAA Tour Guide. Why her instead of me? Didn't I have an AAA rating? After all, the reason I joined the ship is that I won Miss Congeniality and Most Talented in The Miss Florida World Pageant held on a cruise ship out of my hometown Port of Miami. My prize was to remain as an entertainer onboard the cruise ships. For nearly 10 years it was a dream job. After my divorce I knew that I was the one that had won. He was a real looser and lizard. No more tears. He even tried to throw me overboard!
Enough about bygones. That is why they are called bygones. No one ever knew my heartache or heartbreak. After all, I was a former Miss Congeniality! That side of my personality was my real talent. Fooling everyone except myself. I was always masking my pain.
The day that my divorce became final, I took Auntie Mame's advice to "Open a New Window", and went straight to my travel agent and bought a First Class ticket for around the world. Soon I found myself riding brilliantly painted elephants in Jaipur, visiting the treasured temples in Thailand, dancing and breaking dishes on the rooftops at tavernas in Greece, sitting next to Ringo Starr at a private dinner party at the legendary palace, Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, walking in the footsteps of the great masters in Nepal, and sipping Bellini's watching the sunset at the famed Harry's Bar in Venice. These were just a few of my lively adventures and in Auntie Mame's words I was, " soaking up life down to my toes"!
However, many of my early sojourns are no longer open and welcoming to Americans. They included, visiting the Crown Jewels in Iran, living in a yurt in Afghanistan and riding my horse daily through history along the Pakistani boarder where ancient murals were craved in stone.
Oh my, what has happened to my wonderful world of wonder? Will we ever celebrate cultures again or find peace in our world today? It was at that moment in time that I knew my calling was in writing and researching the many cultures and the customs of our world. After nearly a year of my exotic and exciting adventures, I returned home to the real world. I started my new and improved life of trying to discover the authentic, worn and torn, simply fabulous me! What “Mask” will I wear now?
Do they love you or the mask you put on everyday?
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