I sense a serious case of “feet dragging” occurring in my publishing progress. I have completed half of the editor’s suggested changes to my manuscript but the other half glares at me whenever I enter my art room. Yet I still walk right on by the bundle of papers sitting on the table.
“My excuses are warranted,” I rationalize.
“I need to pay off credit card debt before purchasing a self-publishing package so what’s the rush,” I tell myself. Sounds reasonable, right?
This morning I wonder whether there is something more involved than just procrastination. Perhaps those familiar fears of self-disclosure hobble my determination to move forward.
You see, I have grown accustomed to hiding behind masks. Sometimes I feel like a jester of sorts, appearing happy before those I work with. Yet, I have traveled a lonely path isolated from so many who once knew me.
Living with face covered has served me well. I left behind the missionary and pastor’s wife identity after the “Big Fall from Grace” (the subject of another book in the making) and took on the difficult task of raising two children as a single parent.
Years of healing followed that filled with trying to find a career path, studying to become a teacher, and then working diligently at the profession.
Then I entered into the Facebook world at the beginning of last summer and my entire life flashed before my eyes like one continuous reunion.
There were pockets of people spanning childhood through present who knew some of the many different faces of JoDee.
At times, I find my identity a bit fractured into pieces from having lived so many different experiences in so many different places: Antelope Valley, The Netherlands, Napa, California. I traveled to over twenty-five countries and worked with people from all over the world.
Once settled back in Lancaster, I grew accustomed to wearing the mask of a teacher while hiding the rest of me.
Then there was the creative side reserved for only close family and friends until my blogging began.
The masks of my creative eclectic nature began to intrigue me and became the subject of my first book. The mystery of exploration opened up a whole new world. Then there is the mask of me the writer.
I am a bit afraid to come clean with who I really was in the past and who I really am today. I know publishing would mean taking off the mask of the writer and at times this terrifies me.
“People may not like who they see,” my fears taunt.
“If I publish, then I am exposed, real, raw, uncut,” I worry.
I confront my fears and ask myself, “What are you afraid of?”
“Perhaps those who may criticize also hide behind their own masks?” I wonder. I suspect we all wear masks hiding our unseemly character flaws from others.
Yet, when we expose our past and our present hidden selves to others who relate and benefit from our insights, a certain magic occurs.
Something sacred rushes in to fill the crevices of human brokenness and failures when we reach out to others.
Human longing grasps on to human longing finding strength to endure. We brush shoulders with humanity and in doing so, a bit of heavenly dust from angel’s wings sprinkles us with courage to continue. We dare to be seen for who we really are and therein lies the courage to remove our masks with those we trust.
Yet for the writer, we must dare to remove our masks before those we do not even know. Even more risky, we expose our thoughts and life to those who only know a part of us and do not like what they know. Now that takes courage!