Why are we all so good at hiding who we really are?
“3–2–1… BOOM!” the flimsy wooden door was slammed open using the 50lb battering ram. Immediately a flood of black-clad secret agents poured into the dingy apartment and pinned the surprised and disheveled target to the ground.
As the gangly and pale man thrashed violently about, dozens of black gloved hands fought to keep him restrained.
“Whoever has their hand covering this mutant’s mouth better not let go!” barked the commander. “This mutant apparently has some pretty nasty powers…” he said as he gazed wearily at his tablet.
But before the commander was able to finish his sentence, the thrashing mutant bit down hard on the gloved hand that covered his mouth. His fangs sank deep into his captor’s palm and drew blood.
The agent immediately recoiled and clutched his hand in pain. But in that fleeting moment, the mutant flared his upturned nostrils and inhaled a deep and desperate breath. As he exhaled, he screamed defiantly, “You will never completely exterminate all of us mutants!”
With his second successive breath, he released a deafening blast of sound and wind. The sonic boom shattered all the empty beer bottles in the littered living room. And it sent one of the nearby soldiers flying out of the apartment and over the edge of the balcony.
As the flailing agent screamed out in sheer terror, one of his fellow soldiers yelled out, “Damian!” and bolted after him.
But before this agent was able to leap off the edge of the balcony to save his lifelong friend, something powerful held him back. It was not the mutant, nor his comrades, but it was himself.
He was afraid of unfurrowing his powerful white feathered wings that grew directly out of his spine. These were the wings that were always kept tightly bound with bandages and shamefully concealed ever since he was a little boy.
Even though these wings flexed and threatened to tear themselves out of the Kevlar vest he was wearing, his fear of being ostracized as a mutant held them forcefully back down. In the end, his fear of rejection ended up costing his friend his life that day.
Shame is a very powerful and constraining force that often blackmails us into hiding who we really are.