Take Off Your Mask!

There is a scene in Pride and Prejudice — the 2005 movie adaptation of Jane Austin’s 1813 novel — where Elizabeth Bennett, played by Kiera Knightly, is touring the Pemberley sculpture gallery. The gallery is host to numerous busts of historically notable figures, including noblemen – dead people.

Pemberley is the residence of Mr. Darcy in Derbyshire, England. He, however, is alive and well despite the fact that his bust is center stage in the gallery.

Mr. Darcy is a man Elizabeth Bennet is playing a tug-of-war of sorts with — a war that rages between her heart and mind. In the scene where she’s touring the gallery, her mind is winning the war.

When Elizabeth comes upon the bust of Mr. Darcy, she stops and languishes longingly at it. Her anguish is palpable. That is because their last encounter did not end well. They both were smoldering with emotion and let their true feelings – the not-so-good ones – be heard.

This scenes affords the movie goers a look inside of her well-guarded thoughts. Mr. Darcy — the real Mr. Darcy — could not be present for this. Why? Because Elizabeth would never let down her guard in front of him and show her true feelings – the good ones. She wears a mask of sorts to hide her true affection for Mr. Darcy. Her facial expressions however give her away. Staring at the bust, she has a wistful, almost sorrowful look. The truth is, she’s madly in love with Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy would be shocked to know this. Up until this point, he’s only seen her disdain for him. Elizabeth would rather suffer and be alone than admit her true feelings to Mr. Darcy. Why? She suffers from a bad case of prejudice.

For his part in this saga, Mr. Darcy is much like the bust itself. He seems trapped inside a concrete shell of pride. A part of him seems shut off to the real world. Dead even. He is forlorn, walking around with a quizzical brow that to many seems like a scorn. Most people who pass him would say he’s withdrawn and unhappy. He seems disinterested in others. Even dismissive.

To an astute observer of human behavior, it’s obvious they are simply warding off an avalanche of emotions.

If you are still reading this, you’re probably wondering what my point is.

Many people are not too dissimilar to these two characters. Many people are stuffing their feelings down deep inside of themselves, too proud to admit they are walking around through life simply going through the motions, pretending to be fine when really they are discouraged and even disappointed with how their life is turning out. They are without hope. It is as if a numbing fog has settled into their lives. They count themselves out of the game. Or look around and think this world is too wrecked to make a difference. Still others are suffocating under the weight of some mistakes, misfortunates and events from their past. They don’t truly understand that there is hope. That there is still time to change their life experience as well as make a difference in the lives of others.

Just like in sports, our life’s endings have a disproportionate influence on any narrative. In other words, what will define you is not your past, but your legacy. There is still time to get your heart in the game.

If you are ready to finally be the woman or man you were born to be, I’m guessing you have a lot of unpacking to do. You do this by letting go of the past and certain narratives you’ve attached to.

Never wish to be anything but what you are, but be that perfectly.” Emily Dickenson.

What did you think of this Article? Would you like to leave a comment?

Altar Call