Are You Thelma or Louise?

Thelma and Louise

I finally watched this movie 25 years after it came out.  I had always thought that it was just a chick flick but it was so much more than that!

After I watched it, it really got me thinking about the personas we take on as women, the societal masks that we wear and the reasons behind that.  This is of course talked about a lot I know, but this movie to me was such a POWERFUL example of it.

THELMA – in a relationship where she is not valued, has no voice, is not heard, but doesn’t speak up and accepts her lot in life (until the big road trip!).  WHY?  Low self-worth, thinks perhaps that’s all she deserves, she should be grateful that someone wants her? 

LOUISE – tough exterior, independent, OCD, doesn’t take risks.  WHY?  She is damaged, vulnerable, hiding her pain, perhaps ashamed, not trusting of people.

WE TEACH PEOPLE HOW TO TREAT US ….

We can own several masks over our lifetime and change them to suit the external circumstances.  The one I personally learnt the biggest lesson from was the “I’m superwoman, I don’t need your help” mask that I created when I unexpectedly became a sole parent to a 5 week old daughter and left with massive debt. 

But these masks come with dangerous side effects – mine resulted in massive anxiety trying to keep it altogether without anyone noticing I wasn’t coping, and culminated in a nervous breakdown.  It is so exhausting wearing a mask, keeping up the pretence, not being true to our own internal needs and desires.  I’ve shed mine now and whilst at times I feel a little naked, it is the most freeing thing I have ever done and I so wish I had done it sooner.

To quote Louise, "I don't recall ever feeling this awake. You know, everything looks different now. You feel like that? You feel like you got something to live for now?"

So, let me ask you, what masks are in your wardrobe and has yours reached its use by date?

Photo credit: http://theredlist.com/wiki-2-24-224-267-view-fiction-profile-thelma.html