I watched the behavior of all the ‘good kids’ and followed suit – by being careful about my clean white shirt, shiny black shoes, and the tie for all seasons. Moreover, I knew that it was not a good idea to exhibit all my true feelings, especially sadness and fear, which posed a serious threat to my gender and what was expected of it.
I am aware that my growing up years were a challenge when it came to the masks I was supposed to wear on various occasions. It was difficult for my ego consciousness to come to terms with the demands of time and space on it and to act accordingly. I was always looking for the right choices, the right persons with whom I could identify and carve a model for the mask that I could wear in the future, on a long term basis. I knew that many of my real role models were to be looked down upon by my elders. So, my real choices had to give way to the more socially acceptable, admirable ones. Though I loved to be like the clowns in a circus or the self-willed animals in the wild (which I watched on TV) who were not expected to follow the rules of civilized human society, I gave up on such rebellious thoughts after receiving unwelcome reactions to such behavior I tried a few times. Then came a phase when it dawned on me that the expectations that one was to fulfill were the price for one’s happiness and success. It was not fair to ignore my Shadow, which represented at least some of my real needs and longings. But I had to project my Self above that. the Self that wanted to be accepted, and given a chance, to move around in its immediate surroundings and to attain its higher goals. In that way, I was not sacrificing my Shadow, but my ego consciousness was suppressing it at times when it embarrassed me and others. My greatest revelation was that I was not the only one who had a dark side that I kept hidden within my mask.