No need to hide.

I spent many years in hiding. Not physically, but mentally. As a child I would immerse myself in books and music. They offered respite from the horrors of my dysfunctional life and gave me a mental escape from reality.

Then as a teenager, alcohol became my means of blocking out the pain. Whenever I felt my emotions overwhelming me I could run to the refuge that vodka provided. Alcohol also provided me with my mask. A mask I was to wear for the next twenty years.

My need to hide stemmed from my mother’s rejection and my father’s abuse. I grew up believing that if I’d been good enough then the bad things wouldn’t have happened. I developed damaging self perceptions that I was never going to be anything less than worthless and no-one would ever love me. What was equally unhealthy however, was my desire to cover up the truth.

Initially I wore a mask of happiness, confidence and fearlessness. It didn’t feel like a deception but indeed it was. For underneath lay an increasingly depressed and worryingly addicted woman.

Then the mask of alcohol turned into something sinister. It turned into the mask of denial. As anyone who uses alcohol, drugs, food, sex, work as a form of self-medication it is denial that turns a rational, responsible individual into a guilt-filled liar. The mask of denial also kept me on the spiral of self-destruct until eventually I hit rock bottom.

I had a choice to make – ‘end it all’ or ‘stop hiding and start living’. But moving forward meant coming out of the darkness and into the light. It meant revealing my imperfections and my fears. Terrifying as that felt, I knew that I was ready. I was ready to drop the mask.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~ E.E. Cummings

Without the drink to cushion me and without the cocoon of my depression I felt useless and hopeless as any human being could experience. Only faith could have pulled me out of that pit of despair. And initially, it wasn’t even my own belief that offered hope; it was the faith of someone else. Their conviction that I could learn to overcome my past and have the courage to heal was incredible. It was so powerful that even in my doubtful mind; there was a chance that I could turn my life around.


When you’ve been hiding in the dark for a long time, you have to come into the light slowly. Otherwise the intensity is too much to cope with. And so it was with care and with gentleness that I welcomed back my heart, mind and soul to reveal my authentic self to the world.

I often get asked why I share my heart and spirit so openly. The answer is simple. Because I can.

I can live my life as the person I was intended to be. Who would hide that?

 

48 thoughts on “No need to hide.

  1. Great article, Carolyn! I like your openness and honesty. And it’s very eye opening for me since someone close to me has plummeted into one of those traps and is now a pathological liar. It’s more sad to me than anything because of the denial, refusal for help, blatant deceit, and what’s actually happening to a life that was once so full of potential.

    • So sorry that you are having to go through this Jessica. It is very hard when someone you care for is in denial. They think they are hiding the truth but the only person they are really hiding from is themselves.

  2. I love what you said about coming out into the light – how it can be sooo intense. I’ve actually felt this intensity many times when I was trying to step out of the darkness. I think it’s because my spirit just wasn’t ready yet. Now that it’s finally ready, I’ve come to looooove the light, the sunshine, and the warmth I feel it everywhere – in my heart most of all and for the first time, I’m finally ready and able to accept this.

    Thank you for posting this – and sooo much more. xo Maria

  3. I hid differently. In my youth I was so afraid of coming into my own that I chose to hid through others, doing what they enjoyed, going to things they enjoyed and not embracing my own interests. No longer like that today. We all have our journies. I’m glad you are no longer hiding

  4. We have a lot in common. As I read your words I was readin my story. Ya are an inspiration to me. I can see there is hope beyond abuse.

  5. I’m always amazed when I read your blogs Carolyn. I’d never think in a million years you’d been through any of that. But there’s a saying in my church, “I don’t look like what I’ve been through”, and you definitely don’t. Great piece.

  6. I agree with what Martha said that you should put this in a book for people to read;many people are looking for answers online and need to come out of that hiding place that you have been in. You are an awesome source of encouragement to so many peole

  7. I’m so happy You are no longer in hiding, what a beautiful soul You are, Your heart pours out nothing but inspiration, lessons learnt, positive energy, and most of all, the beauty that is You … Because You can indeed!

    I was asked the same thing, and my response was exactly the same, I share so much of myself because I want people to see the positive outcomes from the negatives, to give them hope that it really does get better, and mainly …. uɐɔ ı ǝsnɐɔǝq … 🙂

    Today I am more than tempted to wear the mask again, I need it Today more than usual, and then I saw this post … I am devestated with a situation that has left me feeling hugely emotional, hurt, and mistreated, and I am not dealing with those emotions as well as I would like. I needed this post more than You will ever know. Even in my state, with my tears, I will not be ashamed of who I am, and I will not hide what I have come to love, and that is me. I have learned to love myself again, and like it or not, others will either have to accept me, or choose to walk away.

    They can run and hide, I will never conceal who I am again.

    Thanks Carolyn xxxx

    • Thank you for all your wonderful encouragement Christine. And I’m sorry you’re in this difficult situation. Your comment ‘I will not hide what I have come to love, and this is me,’ shows how far you have traveled along your emotional journey. I can your feel your despair that you have come so far but others are not at the same place. You do not need to go back to where you came from and I do hope that you find the support and love you need and deserve. xoxo

  8. This is brilliantly beautiful, Carolyn!! I love, love, love this part:
    When you’ve been hiding in the dark for a long time, you have to come into the light slowly. Otherwise the intensity is too much to cope with. And so it was with care and with gentleness that I welcomed back my heart, mind and soul to reveal my authentic self to the world.

    I often get asked why I share my heart and spirit so openly. The answer is simple. Because I can.

    I can live my life as the person I was intended to be. Who would hide that?

    You’re right – who would hide that!?! And, thank YOU for not hiding anymore – your wisdom helps so many others find their own path.

  9. It is wonderful that you are able to share your experience with others so they may benefit. I’m sure that people can appreciate that your are able to lend an empathetic, rather than sympathetic ear.

  10. So many of us use masks to deal with what we perceive as shortcomings … not only around addictions. Yet we only blossom when we’re willing to bring the mask down … at our own pace and with the degree of help needed to do so. Only with that vulnerability can we actually connect and heal …

  11. Carolyn, Thank you for sharing such an important revelation. You are inspiring others to confront difficult issues. I look forward to learning more from you! Sincerely, Ryan Smith

  12. Carolyn, I so love reading your work…you always touch my heart. “I can live my life as the person I was intended to be. Who would hide that?”. Right on…let that light shine…just because you can!

  13. “When you’ve been hiding in the dark for a long time, you have to come into the light slowly.” This is where I’m at, coming out slowly. You’re an inspiration, this was a lovely post.

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