Transparency: Behind the Painted Smile

23 08 2007


Copyright 2007 Kelsey Hough.  All rights reserved.

“I can’t let them know who I really am, Kelsey,” she said with pain in her voice, “Because they’d be so disappointed if they knew I wasn’t doing as well as they all think I am — if they knew I don’t have it all together.”

I tried pulling her out of the mental hole she’d fallen into; I said she was merely human, just like everyone else, so she wasn’t perfect, just like everyone else. But the topic was closed and she had no desire to be thrown anymore ropes.  She wanted to stay in her hole.

Like so many other people, this young girl had decided she couldn’t allow anyone to see the scared, broken, hurting person behind the mask.

Life: The Masquerade

We learn at a young age that life is a large and elaborate, 24/7 masquerade ball, and if you’re going to play the game, you have to hide your shortcomings, struggles, pain and imperfections behind a painted smile, just like everyone else does.

Unfortunately, while we watch the endless parade of smiling, confident faces stroll past us, we often forget we’re attending a masquerade ball, and that almost every face is completely hidden from view behind a bucket full of paint. Everyone else appears beautiful and put together, so we desperately cling to our own masks a little tighter, hoping no one will notice the confident, perfect grin we’re showcasing will smear the next time it rains.

It’s the domino affect in action, and it starts with just one person deciding to sport a mask. The people around them then analyzed their own wrinkled, pimply faces in the mirror and decide they’re falling short, so they invest in masks, as well. Before long, there isn’t a single person left who even remembers what it’s like to be transparent, honest and real.

Broken and Scary  

We’re told we’re suppose to be as normal and all-American as The Brady Bunch, but if people truly knew us, we’d all probably come closer to resembling The Addams Family – eccentric, dark, a little scary, and just downright weird.

People are hurting, grieving, living, and dying alone.

And the most heartbreaking part is there are others who are just as scary and broken as they are, but they’re also hiding behind a painted smile.  Just like everyone else. Drop me a note if you’d like reprint permission.



9 responses

23 08 2007

Awesome! We all want to be accepted in some way of sorts and this attempt to be accepted we become strangers to ourselves at times. I can totally relate to what you’ve written here. Many times in my life I have too, worn a mask and few people have really known the real me. Thank you for sharing and helping me to realize that I don’t have to be like the world!

24 08 2007

Because if we let people see how much pain we’re in, we become vulnerable…we’ve revealed our weaknesses and given people power to hurt us.

26 08 2007

Well put. We just need to lead a revolt and help people get beyond this.

26 08 2007

Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog! You’ve got a nice blog here. I appreciate reading other thinkers’ thoughts. Concerning this post, I think you’re right. I’ve been thinking about it lately. The fact that SO many people act the way they do because of the way they PERCEIVE others to be, is a true discernment of a good majority of “even” Christians.
Visit again soon! God bless…

27 08 2007

I think it is first learned through the family. Families weren’t real with each other when I was growing up. And we learned our ways by relating to one another from Father knows Best to the Brady Bunch. Hoping each day would bring a happy ending. If it didn’t, something was wrong with us and we couldn’t let anyone find out. When we can be real with our family, the transition to trusting outsiders (though still a big leap) is not so scary.
Blessings to you today!

12 10 2007

What a great and well thought out post. It is beautifully written and has a wonderful message as well.

I agree that the majority of us, put on masks to hide our imperfections and weaknesses. I think Michelle is right. We feel safer that way.

15 10 2007

hey, just so you know..someone apparently copied your blog, I read the same thing on 360–?cq=1

15 10 2007
Kelsey Hough


Thank you for taking the time to let me know that someone copied this post. I’m shocked someone would do that.


3 12 2007

this is a very great post……i can relate to your post because i have also a masquerade, most the times i hide the pain, struggle and fears that i feel.Im afraid that no could able to understand me.Behind the smile and laugh is my wounded heart… I thought im kinda weird, reading your post made me realized theres also lots of out there whom experiencing what i do.Thanks……

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