The Mask We Wear

I sat across from my girlfriend last night telling her about my problems. She and I were friends in high school. We reconnected at our 20 year class reunion three years ago. She was the photographer for Munch’s last birthday party. Our children were two years apart.

She and I had shared values. Raising wonderful boys. The seriousness of sisterhood and the desire to see women succeed. We put our boys in similar programs and always shared information. But, this was a first for me. Sharing my pains with her. I had a stressful day. I needed to talk to someone. We had plans.

So, I poured my heart out. I slowly drank my glass of water. No wine for me. I was upset. I refused to drink my calories rather I opted to indulge in dessert. I needed one. I deserved one.

As I sat there pouring out what had been going on with me for the last few months. I was teary eyed. I told her that I couldn’t understand why my son’s father and I couldn’t get a long. I was trying. I couldn’t continue to live like this.

She asked me about my marriage. Why did my marriage fail? I looked her in the eyes and said that I wore a mask. I had a mask on every day for the majority of my marriage. He didn’t know me. He couldn’t see the mask that I wore. He liked that “fake” me. I was living a lie.

I told her that there were many reasons. I could blame him, but I shared some of the blame. I lived a lie. I thought at the time it was my truth, but with each passing year it became more and more unbearable. I was literally drowning. Slowly.

Underwater and never to be seen.

He couldn’t see it. I explained to her that I realized that all women wear masks. Especially if you are a Type A personality. You tend to be the overachiever. You know the “I’m a Woman” type? You know the lyrics from Peggy Lee’s “I’m a Woman”…

“I’m A Woman”

I can wash out 44 pairs of socks and have ’em hangin out on the line
I can starch & iron 2 dozens shirts ‘fore you can count from 1 to 9
I can scoop up a great big dipper full of lard from the drippins can
Throw it in the skillet, go out & do my shopping, be back before it melts in the pan
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again

I can rub & scrub this old house til it’s shinin like a dime
Feed the baby, grease the car, & powder my face at the same time
Get all dressed up, go out and swing til 4 a.m. and then
Lay down at 5, jump up at 6, and start all over again
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again

If you come to me sickly you know I’m gonna make you well
If you come to me all hexed up you know I’m gonna break the spell
If you come to me hungry you know I’m gonna fill you full of grits
If it’s lovin you’re likin, I’ll kiss you and give you the shiverin’ fits
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again

I can stretch! a green black dollar bill from here to kingdom come!
I can play the numbers pay the bills and still end up with some!
I got a twenty-dollar gold piece says there ain’t nothing I can’t do
I can make a dress out of a feed bag and I can make a man out of you
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, I’ll say it again
‘Cause I’m a woman! W-O-M-A-N, and that’s all.

I was living up to this song. Doing it all. Dying a little bit each day. Inside. I smiled on the outside and accepted the compliments when people commented on how I did it all? They would say “You make it look so easy. You work full-time, care for your child, attend every meeting, fund-raise for the school and then send out custom holiday cards or birthday cards, mother’s day cards, etc. How do you do it all?”

I was dying. I was trying to live up to the perfect woman with a smile on my face masking the real me. But, cracks showed in my marriage. He complained about the lack of sex. I was exhausted. It had nothing to do with attraction rather than exhaustion. I was too tired to perform my wifely duties.

 

 

This is a two part post. The second post will be continued tomorrow.

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