Once upon a time

There was a girl. She was passably pretty, and her parents and aunts and uncles loved her very much. They gave her nice clothes, and makeup, and she was kept safe and happy, and nothing much was demanded of her.

But though she liked feeling pretty, the girl was dissatisfied. She always had to be pretty, even when she felt ugly, because she didn’t want to disappoint her parents. She always had to live up to their expectations. It tired her, this mask of prettiness.

So the girl decided to give up the nice clothes and makeup, and she chose to be adventurous and strong instead. Her parents were confused, but soon they came around, and she was called a tomboy. They bought her new clothes, and camping gear, and all her pretty dresses were put away. And for a while, the girl was content.

But though the girl liked being strong and adventurous, she became dissatisfied. She always had to be strong, even when she felt tired or weak, because she didn’t want to be a burden to anyone. So much was expected of her, while she wore this new mask of adventurousness. It tired her.

And so she was caught between two faces. Sometimes she wanted to be pretty and loved. Sometimes she wanted to climb mountains and change the world. And the world told her that she could not be both, and there was no place for her unless she chose which she wanted to be. Her parents did not really understand her dilemma. Her teachers encouraged her to choose. Her friends already made their choice.

And the girl said, “I am everything. I am nothing. And I will wear any mask I please, when it pleases me.”

And so the girl moved on, and collected dozens of faces for all occasions, and her parents thought her very strange. But they came to accept her oddity. And slowly, they began to understand why she did not chose: because the true self is only revealed by the things that do not change, when we wear more than one mask.

The end.

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