A Thousand Masks

I wore a thousand masks before we met. I’ve worn a thousand more since our first hello. 

A mask for every occasion. A mask for every situation. A mask for every opportunity…for anyone and everyone who thought they knew me. 

Each mask, another secret. Each mask, another reason I couldn’t tell. 

Until my secret couldn’t be chained. Until it came unwound. Until my secret burst into the world with flames and ashes and crumbled lives.

These are words I wrote long ago…in what now seems like someone else’s life. My first year of sobriety revealed many things. I spent the months peeling away the layers and exposing my core. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for or what I’d find. It was painful. It was scary. It was necessary.

I found things. Good. Bad. Ugly. Mostly…secrets. My secrets. I was still a little boy…walking around with a burden…my burden. Secret. Heavy. Sharp. Acid. Hate. A burden no little kid should have to carry…ever.

I’ve asked myself a million times…why I didn’t tell. Why I couldn’t tell. I just didn’t. We just don’t. Guilt. Shame. Fear. Anxiety. Judgement. We just don’t.

My life completely unraveled in my early twenties. It all came apart…and I finally told. I told my secret. Nothing. Blown off. Embarrassed. No consequences. A big joke.

That’s why we don’t tell. Some of us never tell. Some of my closest friends have found early graves…holding on to their secrets until the very end. I knew it. I know it. They wouldn’t tell. They couldn’t. They’re gone.

Believe me. Or don’t. Believe them. Or don’t. But there’s a reason we don’t tell.

We just don’t.

What are some of the masks you wear? And, why do you wear them? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

12 replies
  1. Jeanne Yturri
    Jeanne Yturri says:

    I’m glad that we’ve reached an era where speaking out is encouraged so that healing can begin and people are held accountable. By speaking out you quickly find out that you are not alone Brad, so let it out. Write more blogs. Allow the healing to continue. You are loved, respected and admired by so many people, including me. Your friend always, Jeanne

  2. Lisa Rinehart
    Lisa Rinehart says:

    I am so proud of you and proud to call you MY friend…my brotha from anotha motha (My mom and your mom love when I refer to us as such😂).
    I’m glad you told. I’m glad of the masks you no longer wear.
    I wear a mask. You know a little about it. I’ve shared some of “me”… the “why” of me with you and I’m a better person for it.

  3. Jolie
    Jolie says:

    When we first met & you told me some of your history, I thought you were such a warrior…what you’d been through, the choices you made to recover & move on, etc. Back then, I had no idea that you’d only shared half of your secret. I hope you realize that your words—sharing your secret—will give others who suffer similar unspeakables something invaluable: hope.

  4. Sheree D. Hoffman
    Sheree D. Hoffman says:

    So proud of all you have overcome Brad. I know that many who read your blog, will find it useful in their journey also. I totally enjoy reading your words of wisdom, you are such an inspiration to many.

  5. Shauna Carter
    Shauna Carter says:

    Thank you Brad. So many of us wear so many masks inside and outside of sobriety and addiction, inside and outside of our families, our circles, ourselves. We hide from the things that we are fearful of or that we think people may be fearful of and therefore we hide from ourselves.

    Until one day we learn that by sharing ourselves with another human being we create freedom for ourselves in that moment, and we create freedom for the other person to allow them to really see us. When we take off that mask, we are finally able to look at the past as an experience that brought us where we are today, and we realize that it doesn’t have to be in the future with us. We can reveal what happened, and we can see what happened as not “who we are”, but as an experience that happened and that’s all. We can be who we want to be in this moment and nothing else. We can finally “let go”.

    Thank you for your share. You have beautiful insight.


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