the mask of childhood

We spend our childhoods
melding a mask of inauthenticity
into our being
celebrating all who are drawn to our
fake selves
and scorning those who aren’t
for it’s safer to be unreal and loved
than to be real and unloved
some of us lose track of time and
forget to shed those masks
at the peril of ourselves
waiting until it’s too difficult to
distinguish the mask from true self
and our disowned fragments are well
hidden in dark shadows of longing
and denial.

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