naked in a masked world

Lots of people talk a good game about how authentic they are, but how many of us really dare to be naked in a masked world? How many of us have closets full of masks for every occasion? Most of us run for the mask at the first sign of danger. It’s comforting and gives us a place to hide.

My advice to you comes from Charles Bukowski’s “All the Way.”

“If you’re going to try, go all the way.

Otherwise, don’t even start.

This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind.

It could mean not eating for three or four days.

It could mean freezing on a park bench.

It could mean jail.

It could mean derision.

It could mean mockery — isolation.

Isolation is the gift.

All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it.

And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds.

And it will be better than anything else you can imagine.

If you’re going to try, go all the way.

There is no other feeling like that.

You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire.

You will ride life straight to perfect laughter.

It’s the only good fight there is.”

We each have one life with one personality. Are you going to waste it in hiding? Will you hide inside a job or relationship that you don’t really want? Do you let other people’s judgments, opinions, or expectations bully you into staying silent?

If not, Bukowski is right. Honesty will cost you sleep, friends, your reputation, sometimes happiness, approval, and other things. But what freedom! To be your true self, naked to the world, in all your raw glory – that’s brave. That’s living. And how many of us truly do that?

Dare to sing out loud. Take on the project. Ask the girl out. Wear those crazy pants that you love. Show your love. Speak your truth. Go all the way.

You will be laughed at. There will be those who don’t understand or respect you. You will be taken advantage of, but you’ll never be diminished. A masked man can never steal the wholeness of someone standing naked in a masked world.