The Face Mask

I remember as a child in Catholic school, when the nuns would tell me that I should strive to be like Jesus, I became frightened. I imagined that living a life following the Master’s footsteps would ultimately lead to death’s door. Take up the cross and follow, meant more pain and struggle than I wanted to give, especially at such a tender age.

When I was eight, my family stopped attending church. I decided I still wanted to go, though, because I always felt the presence of something magical in the ceremony. I continued to hitchhike to church until I moved in with my single mother in eleventh grade. At that time, I was offered the job of the church organist for the Catholic church next door to our apartment complex. I actually led my first choir at 16 years old. The old men in the choir hated the fact that I was so young, which didn’t make up for the fact that not one of them sang terribly on pitch. Nonetheless, it was a job, my first one. Playing the organ for my man, Jesus!

I guess this was when I donned my first mask. A good Christian couldn’t be gay, and even by then, I knew I was way different than every other boy in my high school. So, I had to pretend that I was straight for the good of the congregation and to keep my job. People just weren’t out of the closet then, especially in the church. Everything happened in secret, in vestibules, and in choir lofts.

I learned early on that a mask was harder than a lie. To maintain the mask I had to learn to create a web of deceit that even I began to believe. This meant dating girls, having dude friends that confirmed my straight story, and also kissing a girl, which I didn’t like at all. Sorry, Katie Perry!

For my birthday this year, a dear friend bought me some facial products that included a clinical facial masque. The instructions were in French, so I all remember thinking when I applied it was: oo, Spa Night!

I watched, at least, three television shows before I realized that the masque began to sting like a sunburn. When I went to the bathroom to wash it off, my skin felt a bit sensitive, not like the $5-peel-off masques I bought at Big Lots. The next day, I woke up with my eyes swollen and had bright red bags under my them the size and texture of a Sunkist orange wedge. All I wanted to do was scratch my face off.

I tried every form of cream I had in the house to stop the itch. I washed, I scrubbed, I even exfoliated, but nothing helped but very cold washcloths all over it—me. I began to break out in hives on my shoulders and chest. How could one mask cause so much trouble?

Alas, this was the story of my life. By the time I reached thirty, I had gone in and out of the closet four times, using masks aplenty. I didn’t know what I was, who I was, or what I wanted to be when I grew up. I just knew that what I didn’t want was to be hated, despised, and ostracized from those I loved. Those I loved all believed that being gay was simply wrong.

Remnants of my life had times when I understood that a community of likeminded men and women would help me find refuge, but I didn’t become certain I wanted to be a part of their fold until I recognized that masks were a part of life and religion too. When I would become an integral part of a church, I saw a side of ministers and lay people alike that didn’t mimic the footsteps of Jesus at all. In fact, sometimes I felt as if, when the masks came off, and the ministers appeared as humans, we all had scarier demons just beneath like the fiery red facial masque that never peeled off. Are we better wearing the masks than unveiling our true selves?

Last night, I watched the winter finale of the television show Nashville. The depiction of the sub-character country male singer who hid being gay to further his career, stood in front of a train and ended his life. This result happens when you wear a mask. Alcoholism, drug addiction, secret sex addiction, overeating all happen when, what you wear NOT is your authentic self. You can always deal with an addiction and the reaction of taking off the mask, but you can’t change who you really are.


New Challenge: Go to Week 7 of the “Year to CLEAR Challenge” at


Look for MY LATEST BOOK: “Finding Authentic You, 7 Steps to Effective Change” with a Year to CLEAR (C-larity, L-ove, E-nthusiasm A-nd R-elationship-Ready) on my Website in the Webstore. Thanks!

Below is information that I will be sharing for about a month, as not every person on my list reads the blog every day. If you have already read it, just skip over it. Thanks for understanding.

A Year to CLEAR Challenge:
(Please Know: You Can Join Us At Any Point in the Year Challenge.)

The masses search outward for things that qualify them as a person, but I always go inward for that which quantifies me for greatness. At twenty-five I preached on street corners in NYC as an in-the-closet Pentecostal minister. One day I heard a still small voice say, ‘God cannot be contained in a book or a law or even in a religion. Dig deeper, reach further to find me, and you will find your authentic Self.’”

A Year to CLEAR Challenge!

The acronym CLEAR stands for (Compassionate, Loving, Enthusiastic, And Relationship-Ready). The goal of this project is to engulf readers in a weekly study that will transform them by removing blocks, promote self-growth, and give them wings to fly freely into daily life. Each week, by going to and choosing the Year to CLEAR Challenge tab, a new challenge or thought to provoke conversation, growth, and group functionality.

My vision is to make Finding Authentic You the book to have in your Kindle or on your computer. The book is a comprehensive look at growth—spiritually, mentally, and physically.

As a yoga teacher and student of the Ayurvedic tradition, I bring to the table understanding of physical challenges, the ability to overcome mental problems with Life & Health Coaching, as well as hypnotherapy, and expertise in meditation and spirituality as a minister.

The combination of all three in one book with an interactive connection to like-minded readers, for one year, is what makes this Year to CLEAR Challenge a must-do for every spiritual seeker.

The One-Year Approach to Change

No one believes he or she can change overnight. But success in change comes from the metaphors of nature. Seasonally, life changes all around us in nature. Finding Authentic You offers a gradual change perspective, looking at the triune aspects of change as in yoga: Body, Mind and Spirit.

Accessing the ability to change and finding yourself actually pursuing change must be a daily search, which I call getting to the “observer mind.”

In this frontal cortex of the brain we find the anatomy of change and the power to counter every negative trigger of the human process. The workings of Hypnosis, NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) are all positive actions to help the mind and body flow to a positive space for change.

Every aspect of FINDING AUTHENTIC YOU fulfills this constant need for diffusing the negative past and dreaming of a fulfilling future.

Step 1: Recognize That Change is Inevitable
Step 2: Release from Resistance to Change
Step 3: Understanding Change and Allow Spirit to Define It
Step 4: A History Lesson—About You
Step 5: Look at Your Past with Compassion
Step 6: Making a Strong Commitment to Change
Step 7: Dream Your Fabulous Future
Go to for Week One to Four Challenges:
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Bo Sebastian is a Hypnotherapist and Life & Health Coach, available for private sessions to QUIT SMOKING, Lose Weight, New Lap-Band Hypnosis for Weight Loss, CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR LIFE! at 615-400-2334 or Please feel free to comment and/or sign up to receive your blog sent to you directly or stream with an RSS Feed.

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Also, look for MY LATEST BOOK: “Finding Authentic You, 7 Steps to Effective Change” with a Year to CLEAR (C-larity, L-ove, E-nthusiasm A-nd R-elationship-Ready) on my Website in the Webstore. Thanks!

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