Author: Demi Lebelo
What does it mean to wear a mask?
Many people wear a mask (verb) in the real world for many different reasons. Wearing a mask typically, means hiding who you truly are and giving people a different version of yourself than what/who you really are.
Many people wear masks, some don’t even notice it but most of the time we all wear masks thinking that’s what will make our lives easier.
The 1st most common place is in the workplace. People wear masks in the workplace to try to impress their colleagues or rather, their employer.
But that’s not what we’re gonna cover on this blog.
When you first find out your true sexuality, it’s kind of hard not to wear a mask. The first thing that comes to mind is “what are people going to say/think”, this is mainly because we’re all scared of rejection and being seen as a disappointment. We’re all scared that our families won’t accept us, our friends won’t accept us, etc. Sometimes we’re told its against our religion, or rather ‘it’s a phase’.
What people don’t understand is that, we don’t choose for ourselves to be this way. It is not by choice, it is who we are.
I remember the first time I realized that I’m attracted to females, I didn’t quite understand it because I had always been surrounded by what people call ‘normal relationships’, which consists of a male and a female and not people of the same sex/gender. Regardless of not understanding it I wanted to act on that feeling.
Looking back right now, I’m actually proud of myself. At the age of six I used to kiss girls when we were playing ‘house’, funny enough I was always the ‘dad’. But at that age, I didn’t really know anything so I just took it as a game. Then at the age of seven I had a crush on my teacher Mrs. Mayat, but again I was too young to know or realize what that meant because as a kid that’s classified as being a teachers pet. Fast forward to age twelve when I had my first girlfriend, I didn’t really know what I was doing but still, I acted on feelings.
Although I had a girlfriend, it was a different situation when I was with her, my friends and at home. With my friends and at home, I put on a mask trying to be the ‘perfect, normal daughter and friend’. I so badly wanted to let someone in on what’s going on in my life because I was ecstatic, but I couldn’t just say I’m dating a girl. So I just told everyone that there’s this boy I’m dating, and it seemed to be the perfect lie because everyone was so happy and I didn’t wanna ruin that by telling them the truth.
I first came out to my then best friend and the first thing she asked me was if I ever had a crush on her, but no I didn’t. So that was one tick on my list because now I could be myself around her. At home I continued with my mask fully on. I was scared they’d beat me or something worse. Fast forward to when I came out to my immediate family, the question was “how do you know you’re lesbian”, today I find that question very hilarious 😂 but back then I was afraid to answer it, because how do you really tell your family that you have feelings for someone? Or that you have a sexual attraction towards someone😂.
Although we may come out to our immediate family, that’s not the only family we have. We have our extended families that we don’t always see, but fear that they may or may not accept us when we finally meet again. We have our communities where not everyone is as accepting as we wish they could be, we have schools and workplaces filled with judgmental people.
Regardless of all the hate or disapproval that surround us, we shouldn’t let that define us. We shouldn’t put on a mask to please others at the expense of our feelings.
I am who I am, whether or not anyone accepts me I will continue living my life. I will continue being who I am. I will not disguise myself. I will not try to live up to someone else’s standards rather than my own. Mask off, this is who I am, this is ME!!! 🏳️🌈
BE THE BEST YOU, YOU CAN BE.
Submitted by Demi Lebelo, a fan of LGBT News. Original blog post can be found here.