writing about personal facades and the secret centers

Writing about personal facades can give loved ones a taste of your “secret center.”

Writing about personal facades is a great way to connect with loved ones. Plus, it can be therapeutic.

When I lived in Europe and tromped around medieval cities, I marveled at the intact buildings. Buildings remained as beautiful in the 1980s as they had in the 1510s. Yet modern businesses and households were operating out of them. Their trick? Extensive renovations that didn’t touch the street side facade. The buildings themselves were nothing like the original structures, but through the centuries, the historic fronts were maintained.

Large or small, good or bad, we all have them. What’s your facade? How does it function in your world? Such introspective topics aren’t just good things to discuss with your best friend or therapist (assuming those are two distinct individuals). Your legacy of yourself and your past doesn’t have to be limited to narratives.

Writing about Personal Facades

Sometimes personal facades are ginormous skeletons lurking in the closet (think sexual orientation or past victimizations). Other times they are relatively small acts of vanity. Here are five effective ideas for writing about personal facades.

What’s the purpose of your façade?

Do you always maintain your facade or is it a mask that you bring out on occasion? Do you use it to hide who you really are? On the other hand, do you assume it to play the person you want or need to be? The calm parent facade comes to mind. Sometimes you want to scream and rant, but reason overrides nature. By playing the calm parent, you are the good parent.

You can gain and share clarity by writing about your personal facades. How did they start? What purpose do they serve?

The cost of maintaining your façade

Perhaps maintaining a facade has meant a lifetime of not being honest with family members. On the other hand, perhaps it was a short-term exercise. Perhaps you put on a happy face to protect children. Perhaps you paid a high price for maintaining decorum.

Why do you think you go to the trouble?

writing about personal facades and naming elephants

Naming names? Writing about personal facades might involve naming the elephant.

Some people are okay with everyone knowing that an elephant is in the room. However, they find talking about the elephant keeps them in the past and prevents them from moving on. Addressing the elephant will make her real again. As long as she isn’t defecating on the carpet, they’d rather not talk about her. Others know that the elephant needs to be acknowledged and are just procrastinating the inevitable.

Is maintaining a facade is a minor inconvenience, a major pain in the butt, or the thing that allows you to function?Writing about your personal facade will help others (and you) understand it.

Is your personal façade a just a Hollywood prop or is it integrated with the real you?

Does it prevent people from getting to know the real you? For instance, my doctor likes to chide me for coloring my hair. “You can’t run from who you are,” she says. I want to answer, “I’m not running; I’m hiding.” But that’s not really what I feel. First, I’m covering up the fact that the right side of my head is substantially grayer than the left. More importantly, I’m keeping my hair color in line with my mental and emotional age.

Am I right? In my opinion, there’s not always a right or wrong. Sometimes it’s just what you do. Writing about your personal facades doesn’t mean justifying or defending you choices. You’re just explaining them and, through that explanation, connecting with loved ones.

If you had to do it all over again, would you?

It’s always good to leave a nugget of hindsight for younger generations. What would you do differently? What would you change?

Your Turn:

What roles have facades played in your life? Share your thoughts!

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