Removing Our Masks

                                                                                                                      
I had an amazing experience this weekend. It's one that I fought. One that I had to make myself do.

My friend, Aly from One Day Lighter, invited five women over to her home, prepared us a light meal, and offered us one of the greatest gifts...the chance to be ourselves. 

I don't know about you, but I can get bogged down with trying to be someone I'm not. Trying to feel things that I don't. Trying to complete things I only started out of guilt.

I can get caught up in my own little world and not feel like making time for people outside my family. Or I tell myself that as soon as x, y, and z are finished, then I'll make the time.

Before I went on Saturday, I was tempted to cancel. I'd been away at my daughter's college orientation the previous two days and felt mentally drained. Then, when I got back, I fought with my husband over stupid things right up until the time I left for this gathering. My house was a wreck from being gone, I was tired, and summer home with five kids had been taking its toll.

All I really wanted was to lay on the couch in a quiet house and collapse. Just do nothing. I thought that might rejuvenate me. 

Let me tell you, talking honestly, sharing our hearts and laughing together, refreshed me more than a thousand hours of sleep could have done.

At first, it was all pretty. Pretty words, pretty sentiments. Small talk about small things. But then real people showed up. Honesty moved to the forefront and we took our masks off for a little while. Because none of us is renewed by superficial. None of us feels any better after small talk. No one is refreshed by keeping up appearances.

If you're honest when talking to others, it's like an avalanche. It gives them permission to be honest and you all end up feeling better. I was comforted to be reminded: none of us has it all together, everyone gets tired of mothering, it's okay to say no and not feel guilty about it, and everyone craves some time by themselves. Whatever your deal is, there are other people that can relate!

Connecting with people in a meaningful way isn't likely to happen in passing. Most of the places we go it would be awkward to truly share what's going on in our lives. But with friends, with other people walking the same road you are, it's great to be able to say what you really think.

I'm encouraging you today to make the time for connections.  Accept that invitation for coffee, go out to lunch with a friend, attend that party, even if it will mean rearranging your schedule or setting aside the never-ending demands of home for a little while. Be yourself, open up and share. You'll be refreshed and your presence will lift someone else up, too!


34 comments:

  1. You make some good points, personally I never have a problem ignoring housework (!) to take time for me and friends - but I'm guilty of plenty of other 'I should be doing this' moments!! It's a terrific habit to get into too - and a great one to pass onto our children #allaboutyou

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    1. Thanks, Vanessa! I'm not sure why I have trouble ignoring housework. It's not like I'll really ever be caught up! :)

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  2. Thank you for this reminder! You're right- we have to go out of our way to make these connections happen! It's so hard to make this a priority among the things that have to get done, but being around friends and making connections always makes me feel full! However, that thousand hours of sleep sure sounds tempting! haha!

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    1. Haha, Mindy! The sleep part won't happen, so friends are the next best thing. We can all be tired together! :)

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  3. I try to meet up with my friends as often as possible, and sometimes it's only once or twice a month for an hour or two . . . but I notice that when I do, I always leave 'lighter' having laughed and shared about my recent happenings (both good and bad). Spending time with close friends is as important as date nights are for couples!
    I always appreciate your honesty, sweet Marie!
    I hope you're having a great start to your week,
    Suzanne

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    1. You're so right, Suzanne! I never thought of comparing it to date nights. Seems like that's something we sometimes have to make ourselves make time for, too!

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  4. You are so right Marie - I was just thinking of this very thing after having breakfast with a dear friend this week and spending the weekend with my closest friend in ATL. And WHY don't we do this more often or make it more of a priority in our lives? My excuse is - life gets crazy busy or I'm just too blooming tired! But those moments when you can let your guard down and just be yourself and talk about 'real' life with those who love you and accept you - I ALWAYS walk away refreshed! Glad you had this time Marie and thank you for sharing with us!

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    1. Thanks, Julia! So glad you got to spend the weekend with your friend. Those times are so special!

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  5. Love this post, it's all so true. And I love that you made time to meet with others and have some time out. It's something that I'm not very good at, weeks pass without me making time for conversation and connection. Thanks for reminding me how important it is x

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    1. Thanks, Sara! I'm not sure where the time goes, but it's usually way too long for me, too!

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  6. Really great post! I have a bad habit of putting friends at the bottom of my list sometimes - we're all so busy, and it can seem like another chore. But I'm always so thankful after I see them. Thanks for the great reminder.

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    1. I'm guilty of that, too. I wonder why we let the fun things fall to the bottom of our lists? :)

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  7. This is so very true. I often get to points where I am totally exhausted and feeling like cancelling plans but in fact end up having the nicest time catching up or knowing someone better. Lovely post #allaboutyou x

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    1. Thanks! It does seem like my plans always fall when I'm tired and worn out, too. :)

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  8. Life does get busy and it's hard to ignore what needs to be done and staying in our little bubble. But when we do break out and get with others and make time it is SOOO WORTH IT!!!! Glad the masks came off and it was great!!! Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

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    1. Very true, Jenny! Thanks for hosting Share With Me each week!

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  9. Yeah, it's amazing what REAL conversation can do...I feel so great after a girl's night out, cause I have a group of friends who talk about the real stuff. And...we have a lot of fun too! :) Great post!

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    1. Thanks, Amy! Girl's night out is always fun!

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  10. This is a fabulous idea and something I think most moms could love! Here's to time off for good bahaviour and saying no to our kids from time to time. Great post x

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    1. I agree, Izzie! Sometimes we do just have to say no to the kids and schedule something for ourselves. :)

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  11. That's fab advice Marie and I think the blog community is a little bit like this too - we can all take our masks off for a while and share! X

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    1. You're right! Sometimes it's easier to write how you feel rather than speak it. :)

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  12. I just had a couple of hours away from house chores - I had my nails cleaned & polished. Took a little nap while the ladies went away buffing my toes and chatted to them as well.
    I came home a better mom to my kids and friend/wife to my husband.

    #MagicMoments

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  13. What a lovely refreshing post. Personally I'm always just me, and never try to be anyone else or ever do/say things just to please. I learnt a long time ago that I needed to be comfortable in my own skin to succeed in life.

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time :-) #MagicMoments

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  14. I went on a camping. While in there all I am thinking really is home. The chores that I am going to do extra off for staying somewhere else other than our house. But the thing is I am with my son in an unguarded pretty place. And I can have fun! I did have fun when I let worries of chores go. When we got back its welcomed me back but husband helped me a bit. Today Monday its a bit overwhelming but i have this happy memory in my head to pull me through the week =) #magicmoments

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  15. You are so right, that line really rang true "no-one feels better after small talk. No-one is renewed by keeping up appearances". Very very wise words. Thank you for linking up to #AllAboutYou x

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  16. Totally agree, it's important to have those girl's only nights where you just put the word to rights, sometimes there's really nothing better is there?

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  17. Love this post! Thanks so much for inviting us all to be real. So powerful! And thanks for linking up to the Be.YOU.Tiful Link party.

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  18. This is beautiful! I have a dear friend and we were just talking about this. We rarely get together to do "fun", "carefree" stuff. When we get together, our conversation is deep and raw and real. It's never exhausting... like you said, it's rejuvenating.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the SHINE Blog Hop).

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo

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  19. It's such a refreshing idea to think that other's may feel how we feel. Thank you for the reminder and the honesty. I enjoyed your post a lot.
    www.mommycrusader.com

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it, Deborah! It is wonderful to relax and be real with friends!

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  20. I'm going to turn off comments on this post to see if it makes a difference in the amount of spam it's being hit with lately. If you'd like to get in touch, please use the "contact me" tab at the top. Thanks!

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