I just had what I would call a life-changing conversation with a friend I haven’t seen in years. She and I go back to 4th grade, and we reconnected at a wedding reception recently. Though we’ve been Facebook friends for years, we haven’t had face time in longer than I can remember.
Our conversation was so significant that it spurred me into a super sized paradigm shift. Here’s the backstory to how “Mask Off Monday” was birthed just a month ago.
My friend and I were only minutes into the usual how’ve-you-been-and-what’s-new-with-you dialogue when she sadly whispered that she was in the middle of a divorce. She then held up three fingers. I’d forgotten that she now had three painful stories of marriages gone awry.
It was then that the conversation took an abrupt right turn when she uttered these four now infamous words: “I want your life.”
She went on to tell me that it seems like we all envy everyone else’s “Facebook life.” Touché. I’ve had the same thought more times than I can count. Dratted green monster.
After telling her how sorry I was for her current heartache, I continued:
“I honestly do love my life, but the reality is that for the bulk of this weekend I have been a crabby pants. I’ve been a bit maxed this week, which resulted in being overly sensitive to things that normally wouldn't throw me. I’ve been irritable, short, and down in the dumps the last three days, in between the happy pictures you’ve seen on Facebook.”
You see, I’d gotten my hair cut two days earlier and didn’t like how it turned out. It was shorter than I had wanted and I couldn’t seem to get out of my funk over it. I kept telling myself it was only hair but that didn’t seem to turn things around.
After telling my friend the real backstory to my weekend, the one that I couldn’t really capture on film (since it’s hard to take a picture of crabby), I came home and decided to invite everyone I knew to join me in what I named “Mask Off Monday.”
Here’s what I posted on my wall:
Okay. After hearing from so many of you tonight, I got an idea. What if we started MASK OFF MONDAY where we all had one day a week where we choose to be vulnerable and honest and messy and needy with our blemishes and imperfections and insecurities exposed, not because someone exploits us but because we choose to let the guard down and take the mask off. What if we all started banding together and took one day a week to present our less than perfect lives to each other. Who's in? #maskoffmonday
The line that has been repeatedly ringing in my ears since this writing is: “our less than perfect lives.”
I speak for myself when I say that I post pictures that are happy and positive and influential and stylish. I delete the ones that reveal the flaws, the bumps, and the bulges. I’m embarrassed to admit it but I do. Truth be told, I love that I live in a world with hair color and concealer, trash icons and delete buttons.
Back to the original story. The very next day after my challenge went out, the pictures and stories began rolling in. Kendra started it off with her delightfully atrocious kitchen counter that was full of dirty dishes and an overly full un-emptied dishwasher as a sidekick. Alex then posted a picture of her laundry pile that looked like it could win a contest for it’s height and depth! Before long Debi posted a picture she had planned to delete but then accepted the challenge and posted it, makeup off, less than perfect. A couple of guys even wrote in to affirm the challenge.
Then there’s beautiful Brooke. Here’s what she posted, along with her awesome, untouched selfie:
So I love what @michellejwatson has been doing called "mask off Mondays". This is a challenge to post every Monday something very imperfect about our lives since we usually try and do the opposite (or at least we don't choose to post things on social media that we aren't super stoked about am I right?) so today I had a last minute errand I realized I needed to run and had to leave immediately. I didn't have time to put on makeup and packed it up to take with me and ended up running out of time before class to put it on...I was upset about it until I just made a decision to purposefully go without it today. This makes me super self conscious, I don't wear a ton to begin with but when I don't have eye makeup on people always ask me if I'm ok or if I'm sick lol. So today is my literal mask off Monday. I'm gonna hold my head high all day today though! Take it or leave it, this is me.
All this to say: Are you in? Want to join me, Kendra, Alex, Debi, and Brooke in posting pictures of your authentic, imperfect, vulnerable self?
Whether on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, use #maskoffmonday and join the movement!
I do have pictures I could post of the ugly lypoma that’s growing under my left arm or my recent wardrobe malfunction at a friends dance party. But in order to use modesty while also leading with vulnerability, I’ll submit today’s early morning selfie series (complete with green balls that look like they’re coming out of my head!)
Let’s band together and make it fun to take off our masks. If we all do it together, unedited can become the new beautiful.
much love, Michelle
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