A case for faces...

So I have just jumped on the Downton Abbey bandwagon, as of yesterday, and completed Season 1 today. It is a fascinating show set in the early 1900's. If you haven't started watching it, I highly recommend it. As I am watching I am struck by the behavior of both the Crawley family as well as their servants. What I am struck by is how important it is to be viewed as proper, even if it is totally untrue.

It makes me think about the facade that many put up for others to see. Sure, we all may feel that we are showing a true selves, but really, I believe, that there are many of us who hide a part of themselves for fear of what people would really think about them. I know for myself this is absolutely true. There is a portion of myself that I try to keep hidden or, at least, shielded from others.

My mother was always the life of the party. She was beautiful, but loud. She had a great laugh and told you what she thought, whether or not it was appropriate or what you wanted to hear. In many ways I am like her, although I have spent most of my adult life trying to be different.

I do believe that I have been a different kind of mother than she was. I truly love my children and have worked hard to put them before myself. Growing up in a bit of a 'fend for yourself" environment made it difficult to make solid attachments, so at times I struggled, but always wanted my children to grow and flourish. I think for the most part I have been successful.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately...I am not sure), my personality is like a softer version of my mother. I can be loud, sarcastic, and outspoken. I work hard to not be too overbearing or overwhelming. The only times I really "let it all hang out" is with my brother, since he has many of the same personality traits as I do. Together we are quite the pair.

This has been a challenge for me. I am different than many in my family. I know I remind my father of my mother, a woman who caused him much pain. I don't have the type of social etiquette that I probably should. I "pass" most of the time. I can rein in myself when the need be, but it can be painful and difficult. I don't want to be embarrassing, so I clamp things down.

I think we all have these parts of ourselves that we try to manage and some, I believe, hide those "secret" parts their entire lives. Which brings me back to Downton Abbey and  the drive that some people have to show, what they believe, to be their "better side." I am not sure there is a better side. Similar to the faces of a polygon, all sides of us are a parts of the whole. Some faces are not pleasant, some faces are beautiful. Ultimately, these faces are a crucial part of who we are. Without them, we would be someone else. I think the key is to live out who we are. Each part of us is there for a reason, a purpose. We just need to know when to show it. My sharp tongue got me through some very tough times, but using it with my child is probably not the best idea. My outspoken self is what makes me advocate for children and be willing to go up against those who I think may have wronged them, but sometimes I put my foot in my mouth and have to apologize. Ultimately, all these faces make me, me...

I feel pretty good about the person I have become and I think that we should all work to integrate ourselves. A whole person who is willing to show themselves, flaws and all, is a far more powerful person than one who puts on airs and becomes the chameleon who adapts to every situation. Be trustworthy, be truthful, be you. There is only one you in this universe and you only have one shot at making your mark on the world. It is far better to make that mark whole and truthful than with only one face...


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