Last night was the type of night spent tossing in bed, trying desperately to find sleep, but haunted by all one's private concerns and fears. They are certainly not good nights, but enduring them always brings temporary relief during the day. Last night, confronting those inner demons, I had something of a non-unique revelation: We are what we fear, but not in the most obvious way.
Fear does interesting things to us humans. We do anything to deny, ignore, or otherwise twist out of the realization that there are things that deeply, deeply unsettle and unnerve us. If we fear hurting people's feelings and their bad opinions about us, we adapt to outwardly be bubbly, high-spirited, and nice all the time. If you're like me, who fears not being understood and being alone in a crowd, you do everything to make it appear that you don't care what other people think, and you *try* (with various levels of success) to appear friendly and open.
In other words, it's all a facade. I'm not the only one who does this: Inside a little bomb shelter underground is a cardboard box, with my true, slimey little self huddled in a corner, desperately ignoring what I truly am. The bomb shelter, is, in turn, underneath a shiny, bright, socially acceptable building up on the surface, the one that most everyone sees. Everything I see others do is merely a display to cover up their weaknesses and fears, and everything other people see me do is the same: a facade. A mask. A posture. The clothes I wear, the expression on my face, the words I speak, they're all the costume of an incredibly talented actor. I assume the role I wish others to see every day as I get out of bed.
It all seems so depressing, that no one really knows the real me. And then I gaze into my own soul, and see that it would be more depressing if people knew who I really am. Some nights, that concept consumes all of my thoughts.
While I was wallowing in grief and self-pity about this world of actors going about their daily lives, another thought sprang to mind. "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7.
It was with this balm on my troubled mind that I fell asleep last night.
This morning, I got out of bed, adjusted the mask, and prayed that God would give me courage to go without it someday.