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Are We Merely Mannequins on Display?

This excerpt from chapter 3 uncovers our greatest fear and exposes the great lengths we go to keep it covered.

     What is your greatest fear? Some researchers tell us our greatest fear is public speaking. Yet when you think about it, the fear of public speaking isn’t a fear of being in public or a fear of speaking, it’s a fear of making a mistake or not having an answer to a question. We fear being laughed at. We fear whispering words. We fear judgment. We fear being seen naked.

     The fear of being seen naked runs much deeper than simply a fear of being found without clothes. It’s a fear that a suit of armor can’t cover—a fear we live with every day. Imagine if in an instant every thought you’ve ever had and everything you’ve ever said and done were fully exposed for all to see. How would you feel? Naked?

     In response, we are consumed with covering and hiding the truth of who we are, what we think, and the shameful things we’ve said and done. We pretend to be smarter, stronger, purer, more beautiful, and better in countless other ways than we really are. We’re desperately afraid of being seen naked.

     To mask our fear we spend our lives in disguise. Like mannequins on display, we change our clothes to the latest fashions, we fix our hair to the newest styles, and we display ourselves with plastic smiles, hoping that all who pass by will like what they see.

     The truth, of course, is that we are not mannequins. We are not filled with foam; we’re filled with other stuff that makes us human, and not simply the blood and guts stuff. There are aspects of our humanity that cannot be contained in a box or measured on a scale. Passion and emotion flood and flow from our bodies. Passion and emotion are what inspire us to experience our humanity. Mannequins don’t feel the shame of being laughed at or the pain of cancer or the sadness of death. And mannequins don’t feel the joy, wonder, and love that come with being human.

     I don’t want to live like a mannequin on display with a lifeless smile, void of inner consciousness and feeling, but I don’t want to be seen naked. When seen naked I often feel vulnerable, weak, and insecure. This creates a particularly difficult dilemma because as an American I’m supposed to be confident, strong, and invincible. I cannot be seen naked—it’s … it’s un-American!

     So then what should I do? What should we do? How do we stop living like mannequins on display?


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About Leon Hayduchok


  1. […] want them to be healthy for our benefit. A healthy child makes a more flattering accessory for a mannequin on display than a child who is deformed, handicapped, or […]

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