Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday! Fat vs. lean! Why do we wear masks? How does Justice, Faith, and Power show itself on Fat Tuesday? What does Lent mean to you?

Why the masks prior to Lent? What are we hiding? We are hiding our real selves! We want to become someone else for a few hours. Masking our hurtful ‘feelings’ is a painful situation. I’ve taken my thoughts beyond Mardi Gras but I do honor the day and “masks” which drew me closer to this joyous occasion! This is a small tale of my Mardi Gras madness!

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Upon much contemplation, I began to realize that, perhaps, it is not Mardi Gras masks I want to write about! So, here’s the backstory on the real tale. However, I’ll use masks, the royal colors of beads; Purple =Justice, Green=Faith, Gold=Power and jargon from Mardi Gras. All entertaining,
all meaningful!


Masks got my train of thoughts moving forward. All lights green; one of the Mardi Gras colors!

Often times, we humans, do an enormous amount of masking; of our hurts, our emotions and how we really feel! No wonder, we don’t heal quickly or even completely!

I’ve been thinking a lot about confidence and how often times we carry our self-reliance around with the assistance of a crutch! Maybe for a few days but not forever! For example, I think I am confident that I can do this but……… No buts; just move on your own steam. Perhaps, a little slow at first but with certainty all movements will return. Think of a time when your ‘faith’ was called into action and there were no protests on your part. A child running into the busy street and you just ran to scoop up the child from unknown danger. Or maybe it was in an acting class where you were asked to fall into the arms of a person behind you and you did! You relied on the faith and trust of the one behind you. Bravo! Please know I’m not inferring that crutches, canes or wheelchairs are not a necessity, They are
for all those who are in need. I’m referring to ‘crutch’ as a metaphor! Allow me to introduce to you…Confidence on a Crutch.

Often times our confidence is shattered and we start using aids instead of rebuilding our trusts or our shattered parts. For example, my boyfriend or husband left me for another. Or, death has visited our lives; I lost my job and on and on. Misfortune, destiny and death are confidence killers but they need not take over our lives. We’re allowed a brief moment in time to

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Many of us wear invisible masks every day. In hopes that you can’t see the real me or you! The mask of pretend. This is so mind and body consuming. The interesting part is that well-intentioned people know when we’re pretending. We, humans, are like pieces of a grand puzzle. Some of us fit in nicely, while others are struggling to be a part of life’s puzzle. I don’t know how to ‘fix’ this but I do think through awareness we can make room for all to be apart of the riddle or puzzle of life. Maybe, that’s why we repeat all of our holidays on an annual cycle? In hopes that we can find more answers to all the conundrums of life.

Something occurred this week that brought the true realization home to me. One who suffers alone and can’t figure out what’s happening. The best way to explain this statement is to compare it with the decorated Christmas tree. A fresh scented Fir tree; fully decorated with twinkling lights and special ornaments; standing proud and tall! All these ornaments cover up the imperfect parts! We mask them! Once, the holidays end, so do our trees! Some, replanted, others heaped on the garbage pile! Of course, we have the fold-up type we put in a large box ‘till next year. The point is that so many people, like the undecorated tree, feel alone, again! Some, not even realizing their own hurts. So, how do you bandage the unexplainable?

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How do we reach those who feel alone and discarded? How can we help them remove their make believe masks? It’s tough pretending and eventually fuel runs out! Cornered and confidence on the wane; especially on ‘big’ holidays, one looks for a way out, permanently!

It took all these Lenten Feasts to figure out that there are days which my confidence depends on a crutch! Some days my inner critic is louder than my outer self! My inner self can be hurt but the idea is to nip it in the bud! Quickly!

Self-doubt tries to convince me and you that we’re not good enough! But as soon as I realize that’s my inner self telling me I’m inferior that is when the surgical scissors of truth make their debut! I read somewhere that I should do one thing everyday that scares me! That’ll boost my confidence! Just getting up some mornings is enough to scare me back under the sheets! Or listening to the ‘news!’

Self-confidence is about how I feel about me. I must not “mask” the real me. I know that I cannot change my past but my future belongs to me and that’s what I’m committed to. If I do find something or someone uncomfortable, I confront the problem. Not always easy but forever necessary. If you know of someone, hurting in silence, who can’t figure life out, step
in or find someone who can help! I know that self-limiting beliefs and uncomfortable ideas present a red light for me but I must believe in myself strong enough to change to green-go! At my age, it’s easy to become or be swayed! You know, the “what if” people? Please, spare me! I’ve paid my fare, now let me enjoy the ride! I constantly talk to my positive self. Above all, do some exercises. Get outdoors each day.

I’m visualizing my new self for Mardi Gras 2020! No cover-up! No crutch! No veil! But, just for the parade on the Savannah Riverside, I want to wear a sparkly mask of bright green, for Faith, lavish purple for Justice and magnificent Gold as my new confidence Power! Of course, a string of beads of each of these colors! Then I’ll be in compliance to the Mardi Gras rules! May the ‘Krewes’ grant me all three! And I simply cannot ignore having Cajun Jambalaya and Beignets!

May your days be filled with a good measure of wisdom, your confidence be laced with Faith, Justice and Power. These are your ‘beads’ of and for life. And, if you meet someone on your path of life, who may be in need, share your beads with them. You never know, it may be their first Mardi Gras.

Enjoy life without the “masks!” Happy Lent! And remember, behind all the
masks; there’s you…the real you!

Nancy Fraioli

Nancy Fraioli is a retired Benefits Asst. from Town/Village of Harrison, NY. She’s alive and well, residing in Sarasota with her daughter and family and enjoying the Floridian lifestyle daily.

Her passions are writing, reading books of philosophy, children’s stories and poetry. Her deep love is living, learning and sharing how faith, meditation, and music guide her daily life. And she loves to lunch with the ladies!

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