Questions for Reflection
Each episode we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. Our supporters over at Buy Me a Coffee now have exclusive access to the PDF versions of all our Questions for Reflection. Join us today!
Beth Demme (00:03):
Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:06):
Where we have honest conversations about things that make us different.
Beth Demme (00:08):
Our mission is to talk about things you might relate to but that you don't hear being discussed in other places.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:14):
Our hope is that you're encouraged to have honest conversations with people in your own life. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:18):
I'm Beth. On today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled, The Masks We Wear.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:24):
Then, we'll invite you to reflect on the conversation in your own life with Questions for Reflection.
Beth Demme (00:27):
This show will close with Slice of Life, where we talk about what's happening right now. But first, we're going to talk about the masks that we wear. What do you think, Steph? What's the difference between wearing a mask or putting on a different hat?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:44):
I think that's a great first question, mask versus hat. I think that's kind of a universal term, like putting on different hats during the day. For example, I'm going to list your hats for you and you tell me if I'm right.
Beth Demme (00:59):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:59):
You have your mom hat?
Beth Demme (01:02):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:02):
Your wife hat.
Beth Demme (01:03):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:03):
Your pastor hat.
Beth Demme (01:04):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:05):
Your podcast hat.
Beth Demme (01:06):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:07):
Did I miss any of your hats?
Beth Demme (01:09):
I'm also a daughter.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:11):
Beth Demme (01:12):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:12):
Beth Demme (01:13):
Friend hat. Those are different roles that I have in my life. Each of those roles comes with different responsibilities and different expectations and different opportunities. What are the hats that you wear? Let me guess.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:26):
Hold on. My follow-up question, though, is, when you put on those different hats, do you also accessorize with a different mask?
Beth Demme (01:34):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:35):
In what way?
Beth Demme (01:37):
Well, let's talk about your hats first. You are a DIYer.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:42):
Beth Demme (01:43):
Professionally, so that's your business hat.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:46):
Beth Demme (01:46):
You have your podcaster hat, your friend hat, your daughter hat, your aunt hat, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:53):
Beth Demme (01:53):
You're probably different with your niblings than you are with other random children.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:57):
Yeah. I don't really have a random children hat. You're right.
Beth Demme (01:59):
What do you think? Do you think you put on different masks to accessorize with those hats?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:06):
I see how you turned it around there, Beth. You wanted to find out mine. Then, you wanted to ask me so that you can answer second.
Beth Demme (02:11):
So we can discuss it together.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:12):
That's great. I would say, yes and no. The older I get, the less I wear the masks. Also, when I was younger, we've talked about this in previous episodes, but I really have struggled with some different mental illnesses in my life (depression, anxiety, non-suicidal self-injury). I would say, when I was going through the main, the biggest issues with those things, high school, college years, I was wearing a mask all the time. In all of those hats, I was wearing a mask.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:51):
I didn't know why I was depressed, I didn't know why I was dealing with NSSI, I didn't know why, but I knew that I didn't want anyone to know about it. I knew it was something to be shameful of and it wasn't for other people to know. So, I wore a mask when I had my daughter, my nibling, all the different hats. I would wear a mask at work. I would definitely wear a mask of "Professional Leader. I don't have a personal life where I'm slowly dying inside at all. This is my wonderful mask. Enjoy it."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:24):
The older I get, I think the less I wear a mask. There are times where I do feel like, if I'm talking to a friend and I'm having a really bad day but they may be having a really bad day also, in sharing about something, it's important for me to kind of mask where I'm at at that moment where they're kind of sharing and really be there for them. It doesn't mean I can't flip that around during the conversation and take off my mask. Depending on what is needed during that time, I might have to put on that mask and cover up my own stuff, so I can really be present and available for them.
Beth Demme (04:02):
I would have the same answer, that there are roles in my life where it's important that I put on a mask, I would say. I want to be careful here because I don't think that what we're saying is that we're different people or that we're hypocritical or that we're two-faced. That's not what I'm trying to convey.
Beth Demme (04:21):
The reality is that, when I'm in my role as a pastor, I'm really there to serve other people. If I come in full of anxiety or anger or emotion or frustration, I cannot serve them well. I'm intentional about being self-aware about how I'm feeling, so that I'm managing my emotions well, because I don't want to burden other people. When I'm in that role, I don't want to be a burden to others. That's not what that opportunity is about.
Beth Demme (04:55):
But, when I'm at home and it's my husband and I, and I'm in my wife hat, there's a lot of freedom in that. That's a place where I can just be myself. People say that all the time, "Yeah, I can just be myself. That's a friend that I can just be myself with. I just want to find somebody I can just be myself with." It's not that we think we're different people in different roles. It's that, like we said, different roles have different responsibilities and different opportunities.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:21):
Well, I think you can also think of a visual. It can be an actual mask. I think, during this time, this pandemic we're living in, I think we all are familiar with an actual physical mask. When we were out in public and we are around other people, we wear a mask to show that we are protecting others and protecting ourselves. We're able to function because we're being safe and following the protocols and all that. But, when we get home, we can take that mask off. We can relax. We can be comfortable. It's important, too. I think it's important that we do take that mask off and we do get to relax and kind of be free and be comfortable.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:02):
I think that is the same thing with an invisible mask that we're kind of talking about today. When we are around people and we have our mask on, we may present in a different way. But, when we get home, it's important to express those things we might have been shielding. I think if we never express, like if we're having a conversation with a friend and we've had a crummy day and they had a crummy day, but we're letting the conversation be about them, which is, maybe, something we had decided, but if we never address our own feelings, then I don't think that's okay.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:34):
I think that is when it becomes kind of an unhealthy place that we're always wearing a mask but we're never actually addressing ourselves. We are worth it. We are important. We need to spend time on our stuff so that we are good and ready to be the best friends, we can be the best parents, the best all of those things.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:54):
I don't think masks are necessarily an evil thing. I don't think today's episode, we're not trying to say masks are bad, masks are good. I think there is a place for a mask, but we really need to be self-aware of the masks that we're wearing.
Beth Demme (07:16):
Rather than being more our COVID-19 masks, I think more about it like a Mardi Gras mask or a costume mask, where, if you get to the point that you have put on a mask to look like another person or to look like someone who's not you, that, I think, merges into the unhealthy. There are times when I will put on a happy face so that I can be there for someone else. You mentioned the example of, if you're talking to a friend and they're having a rough time. There is something mutual about friendship. There's a mutuality there. If you're with someone and they only ever need you when you have your mask on, they don't really need you. Those friendships are not typically sustainable.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:07):
Exactly. I've definitely had some of those one-sided friendships where it just feels like work when I'm with that person.
Beth Demme (08:13):
It's one of the reasons why I think everybody who can should, at least, do periodic counseling. It's great to go in a room and have someone whose job is really just to listen to you. This is very helpful.
Beth Demme (08:28):
That's not what your friends are for. Your friends are there so you can be in a mutual relationship.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:34):
I totally agree. Beth, as we're talking about this, I'm thinking of people that put on a mask of who they want to be before they are that person. What do you think of that? We've mentioned this phrase a couple of weeks ago, "dress for the job you want, not the job you have." Could you change that to wear the mask you want, not the mask you have? Is that okay?
Beth Demme (08:57):
Gosh, I would want to be so careful with that. Putting on the mask of who I want to be is really just avoiding the work of doing the change and could be, for me, a form of denial about where I am. Then, I would end up just pretending to be someone else. That feels very unhealthy to me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:22):
Is that different than dress for the job you want and not the job you have?
Beth Demme (09:28):
Yeah, that feels different to me. I think we're talking about a literal wardrobe choice and not our metaphorical hats and masks. The literal wardrobe choice, I know that there's a boost of confidence when you're wearing an outfit that you feel great in. Then, also, there are examples of ways that the wardrobe you choose can hold you back. That's why I feel like the idea of dressing for the job that you want, if I interview for a job as a bank teller, I wouldn't show up in a bathing suit. I wouldn't be dressed as a lifeguard if I really wanted to be a bank teller. There's some reality to that, that is, I think, behind the idea of dress for the job you want.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:06):
On the reverse of that, say you ultimately want to be a bank teller, but, right now you have to interview to be a lifeguard and you wear a nice suit to your interview for a lifeguard. Is that okay? That you're not wearing the bathing suit that would get you the job? Is it okay to be dreaming of that when you need to be present in where you are today?
Beth Demme (10:31):
Well, now, my example falls apart because I never think it's okay to wear a bathing suit to a job interview, not even if you're interviewing to be a lifeguard.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:38):
Would you wear a suit to an interview to be a lifeguard? Do you think that would be something that would get you the job? Would you wear something? I don't know what you would wear to be a lifeguard.
Beth Demme (10:51):
I'm so old-school, there's not a job interview where a suit's not appropriate. I'm so old-school. I admit that and recognize it. Even as I'm picturing it, because I am picturing it, I'm picturing myself in a suit with a skirt and not a pantsuit. I'm very old-school in this.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:08):
You think you get the job as a lifeguard in your skirt pantsuit?
Beth Demme (11:12):
I don't think I would. Wouldn't that be so weird?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:13):
I don't think you would, either.
Beth Demme (11:13):
That would be so weird.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:17):
I think you would confuse the interviewee or whatever too much. I don't know that you'd get the job.
Beth Demme (11:23):
I don't know. How does that relate to the idea of wearing the mask for who you want to be? What do you think? You think it's okay to wear the mask for who you want to be, rather than the person you are?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:34):
As we were talking, I was thinking of, and I do think it kind of relates to the cliche that I don't like that we're discussing. But, somebody that has $1 to their name but they want to be an investment banker. They are in debt, trying to get the nice clothes, trying to get a nice car to show, so that when they go for the interview, they look like they're this very established well person, but they're really minus dollars to their name. They're putting on this mask of, "I'm important. I know I have a lot of money."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:10):
I don't know if we know any, even like politicians or anything that, maybe, do that, where they try to seem like they are billionaires, and yet, they only pay $750 in taxes because they literally don't have really anything to their name. Literally, don't. I don't know. Are those masks? Is that just clothing choices? I don't know.
Beth Demme (12:30):
I think politicians wear a lot of masks. I think that's a great example.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:34):
Do they even have faces, though? That's the big question.
Beth Demme (12:37):
They are not the faceless people. They do have faces.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:40):
There's a lot of Halloween costumes of politician faces. I'm just saying it's true.
Beth Demme (12:43):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:44):
Do they have different masks, or do they have mirrors?
Beth Demme (12:47):
Whoa. What does that mean?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:49):
Something I see with politicians is they change their message based on who they're talking to to make you want them. It's almost they're trying to reflect back what you want to see.
Beth Demme (13:00):
Wow, that's a really good illustration. Wow, that's a really good way to think about this, that they're holding up a mirror so that we see ourselves reflected. Therefore, we relate to them. I don't know. That's a whole different thing. That's good. I'm going to be thinking about that for awhile.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:13):
No. I just was thinking, a politician, it's almost not a mask. It's almost they're whoever you want them to be.
Beth Demme (13:22):
The danger with mask, and what I think is, probably, at the heart of some of my own dis-ease when it comes to politicians, is that, you can wear a mask so long that you lose track of who you are. If you have had stunted emotional growth, you get to be 40 years old and you don't know who you are. That, I think, is a problem.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:48):
Well, when I look at politicians, just across the board, across the board, I see exactly that they've been in these two party systems for so long that it doesn't matter what they personally think. They vote the party line. That's it. There's no question. They are not an individual. They're just checking a box because their name says, "Dem" or "Republican." They just check that box. Then, their soul is not there. I've seen that across the board with politics. That's something that just has continued to just make me very furious, because it's like, what's the point of all of this? Why vote? We're not voting for a person. We're just voting for, "Okay, here's another Democrat. Great." It doesn't matter what their-
Beth Demme (14:31):
Yeah. Yet, we should all vote.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:32):
Beth Demme (14:32):
It is our right.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:33):
Sorry. I have voted. I actually voted. Not absentee.
Beth Demme (14:38):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:38):
Beth Demme (14:40):
Except that you hand-delivered it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:42):
Yeah, just hand-delivered it. Don't come for me. It's not in the mail. It's in the box at the elections office.
Beth Demme (14:51):
I continue to vote. Although, there are times when I wonder if it really makes any difference. I think that we have more opportunity to really know and influence our local politicians. That's a little bit different for me. There are issues way beyond masking when it comes to national politics. We can get into the whole money thing. We just did our episode on "How Money Scars You Have."
Beth Demme (15:16):
I think the politicians themselves and the political parties have become brands. So, in a way, all political speech now is commercial speech. Commercial speech, I don't think, is as valuable to us as a nation as political speech. Nobody's asked me. I don't know how politicians can take off their masks when they are a brand and when that brand, then, is used in commerce. I think all of that's messy.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:51):
That's interesting when you say, "brand," because that actually makes me think of, I have a do-it-yourself business. Me and my mom make DIY videos. When we started five years ago, I remember, specifically, if you could see the scars on my arm in a picture, because we do take screenshots for our video and put them in step-by-step tutorial, if you can see my scars, I'd actually blur them out so you couldn't see them.
Beth Demme (16:14):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:15):
It wasn't that I was ashamed of my scars. My reasoning was, one, I didn't want to make people uncomfortable. Two, I didn't know what kind of comments people might say and if they might be just hurtful and not helpful to the community. I would blur those scars out. Every time I blurred the scars, I felt like it was wrong. I felt like I was hiding a part of myself. I was wearing a mask. I was wearing the mask of "I'm a happy DIY-er, I have no issues" kind of thing, which is silly because to be human is to be flawed.
Beth Demme (16:46):
It's true. It's true.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:48):
It just would kept bothering me and bothering me. I always knew I was going to write my story. I was going to write this book. I was going to put it all out there. I knew it was going to be a huge shift and it could hurt my DIY business. It could hurt across the board. When I did write a book and I did actually announce it for the first time on Mother Daughter Projects, it was very nerve-racking and scary. Didn't know what was going to happen from it. Now, I feel like I can truly be myself.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:18):
Actually, recently, my grandmother passed away. She'd given me a set of pearls. We actually made a video where I made a display for those pearls. In that video, we talked about my grandmother passing away. We've really had this back and forth. We thought, "Is this too deep? Is this too sad? Do we want to share this on MDP?" We're like, "This is real." We did it in a productive way. It was hard to film. I did some good editing on that one. We were able to share that message and share that story and be authentic and not feel like we were hiding anything, but really got to share that. I do feel like less and less that I have to hide who we truly are.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:02):
That was the whole point when we started the Mother Daughter Projects, was we wanted our faces to show. We wanted people to see who we were, and not just hands doing projects. We wanted people to be identified with the people and say, "Well, I can do that. Look, they look like me. I can do that, too." That was always important to me to be who I really am and who my mom is was important, too. I felt like it can be scary to take that mask off in front of somebody that has never seen your true face. That can be really scary.
Beth Demme (18:34):
There's a vulnerability in that, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:36):
Yeah. It's easier just to have that mask on and just to not show that part. I just do something that kept bothering me that I needed to do and have done. Now, we're doing the podcast and all this stuff.
Beth Demme (18:48):
I will say, I gave the example earlier of, as a pastor, my job is, really, to serve people. But, I am intentional about sharing authentically about my life. I don't always lead with that. In my preaching, in my sermons, I'm honest about the things that I have dealt with, the things I am dealing with, because, like you said, to be human is to have issues. There's no reason to carry this shame. It's almost like shame is a negative mask. We don't need to mask ourselves in shame. It's much better to have self-awareness and to be able to move towards, either, change or self-acceptance. Do you think that gets easier with age?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:29):
I feel like I know myself and I have so much life experience. When I was 20, there was so much stuff I didn't understand and would never be able to understand at 20 because I hadn't had the life experience. There's things you just don't know without someone who can tell you till they're blue in the face, and you will not understand them until you experience them. I truly believe that. I think that's why, a lot of times, I see older men marrying 20-year-old girls in their 20s.
Beth Demme (19:57):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:57):
Something that makes me really frustrated is I see them marrying those girls because they're naive. They haven't experienced enough life to know-
Beth Demme (20:08):
The girls are.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:08):
Beth Demme (20:09):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:10):
The men 100% know what they're doing, in my humble opinion. I think there's a segment of men that like being married to someone, that the woman's like, "Wow, you're so smart. You know everything." "Of course, you know everything because you're 30 years older than me. You have the life experience." Anyone 30 years older than you is going to be so much more advanced than you. That is just fact.
Beth Demme (20:36):
Hopefully, you have learned something in those 30 years.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:38):
Beth Demme (20:40):
Gosh, what a waste if you haven't.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:43):
You can be married to someone old, young, whatever. But, from my observation, it doesn't work when you have somebody with such a generation gap and somebody that's so naive compared to somebody that is so much older. I just don't see it working. You can show. Sure, send me the links of the people that it works with. Well, in 20 years, we'll look at their divorce papers. It's cool.
Beth Demme (21:05):
I think that self-acceptance definitely does increase with age, and that, with more self-acceptance, we can decrease how often we mask or how many masks we wear. I think there are phases of life where masking is just about, kind of like what you said with the videos, being worried about how other people are going to receive you. Once you get to the point where you know you're okay--
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:31):
Confident in yourself.
Beth Demme (21:33):
Then, the way other people receive you isn't as scary. Also, you get older and you have a little bit of experience with people not accepting you, rejecting you. And, you realize, "Okay, it happens."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:48):
Beth Demme (21:50):
Not really. It really makes me sad. I really want everybody to like me. It's an issue.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:54):
Well, thank you for being honest, Beth. That's a good self-awareness. That's a good self-awareness. Beth, I have a question for you. Do you think that everyone that's wearing a mask knows that they're wearing a mask?
Beth Demme (22:06):
No, I do not. I think that there is sort of a base level of self-awareness that you have to have to even be aware of the fact that you are wearing a mask. By that, I mean that you're withholding some part of yourself or that you're moderating your attitude or you're moderating your communications. You have to have self-awareness to know that you're doing that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:29):
I'm kind of trying to comprehend it. I feel like I was probably wearing a mask for most of my life without knowing it. I dig more into it in the book. I had been abused as a child. I didn't consciously know it. I wasn't conscious of it at the time in my childhood of that this had happened to me. But, it influenced everything in my life. It influenced everything I did. I didn't know there was things I was doing because that had happened to me. I do think I was wearing a mask of like, "I feel horrible and weird and don't understand why I can't feel normal like they're saying. I'm going to look at those kids and I'm going to mimic them because that's what the TV tells me I'm supposed to do, is act like them."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:19):
I think I was wearing a mask of a happy, healthy kid, just loving life. And, I really wasn't, because I didn't even know how to start processing all of that. I think there was a good amount of my life where I was wearing a mask. I think, once I actually got into a place where, I think, right after I was in the mental hospital, really, hit me where it's like, "I have to figure out what this is. I can't go on wearing this mask anymore." It's been a process. Actually, interesting, today, we're recording on October 9th. October 8th through the 11th of 2006 is when I was in the mental hospital.
Beth Demme (24:02):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:02):
This is the anniversary, 14 years since I was in the mental hospital.
Beth Demme (24:05):
That's been a journey, those 14 years.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:08):
Yeah, I know.
Beth Demme (24:09):
I think what you're describing also points to the fact that there are ways in which our masks are useful for us. There are ways in which masks are healthy for us. Like all of us, you wore those masks until they didn't serve their purpose anymore, until they weren't healthy anymore.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:25):
Well, mine was more of a coping mechanism, without knowing it.
Beth Demme (24:30):
That idea of, "I'm going to look at the other kids and I'm going to try to act like them because they seem okay," that works for a while. It works until it doesn't work.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:42):
It works until you're in a mental hospital.
Beth Demme (24:44):
Right. There you go. When I think about my younger self and I think about some of the masks that I have worn in different seasons of my life, I've really been thinking a lot lately about how important the Republican party was to me for a long time and how much I really believed in the parts of the party platform that I knew and understood and how much I believed in the Republican leaders who I knew and understood. I don't regret the campaign work that I did. I don't regret the, you can almost call it advocacy work or party work that I did. But, I am able to see now that some of that was driven by the masks that I was choosing to wear. It's actually kind of what you're saying about how you could look at the other kids and be like, "Well, they seem okay."
Beth Demme (25:32):
I think that was part of it for me. I've been trying to articulate this because, I think, sometimes, we make our political choices based on our own personal aspirations. I saw Republicans as successful people and I wanted to be successful. Therefore, I chose to be a Republican. That was a mask that I wore until it started to suffocate me. I was having to give up too much of my personal values and too much of my personal ideology.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:00):
Do you think there's a danger in fully supporting one party with your whole heart?
Beth Demme (26:07):
I think there's a real danger in supporting any one thing with your whole heart. The Bible has a word for that and it's "idolatry." When I hear people say that they only ever can vote for one party, that they believe certain leaders are, in some ways, God-like, it makes me really sad.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:30):
Do you think it's dangerous to follow anything fully with your whole heart?
Beth Demme (26:35):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:36):
Does that include religion? Does that include God, Jesus?
Beth Demme (26:39):
This is where I think there's an important distinction. I think this is a distinction that is hard for many people, including me, is, there are times when I am tempted to replace my worship of God with idolatry of the church, or idolatry of the Bible. Those are much more accessible. I can kind of get my arms around them and I kind of get my mind around them. I might say like, "If it's good enough for the United Methodist Church, it's good enough for me." I'm trying to put myself at the center of this because I don't want to make assumptions about how other people view things. If everything in my life was centered around a denomination, or even a congregation, or a church, that, I think, would veer into idolatry.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:30):
What about being fully committed with your whole heart to God?
Beth Demme (27:34):
Yes, I think that absolutely is okay.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:37):
Do you think God would encourage and be super cool with you loving him with your full heart, but also, still questioning and always questioning?
Beth Demme (27:47):
Yes, I don't think questions bother God one bit, because I think God is super secure, super self-aware, super secure.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:54):
Do you think he wants us to sit back and say, "I'm 100% on this. This will never change this." Do you think he made us to be that inflexible thinking?
Beth Demme (28:04):
Listen, even in the Bible, God changes God's mind.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:08):
You believe there's a heaven and hell, obviously.
Beth Demme (28:11):
I don't know is the answer. That is the answer. I don't know about heaven and hell.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:15):
Why is it so easy for other pastors to say there's a heaven and hell. Some even throw in purgatory? Why is it so hard for you to say that? Why do you question so much when there's so many people, so many pastors that say, "Yeah, obviously. Bible says heaven and hell, built in seven days. Done."
Beth Demme (28:34):
I don't know why it's easier for some people. Some people are really uncomfortable with questions. I'm really uncomfortable with answers.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:43):
Interesting. Do you think it matters if there's a heaven and hell, or, specifically, hell?
Beth Demme (28:48):
I have resolved from my own self that I trust God with my afterlife, whatever it is, and that I enact that on a daily basis by trusting God with my here and now. In that way, I don't have to have a definitive answer. I don't have to tell you. I don't have to, not just you, but I don't have to say, like, "Where is it located? Is it in another universe? Is it in another dimension?"
Beth Demme (29:11):
God is also outside of time. I don't know how any of that really works.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:17):
Do you think that people, pastors, congregation members, just followers of Jesus Christ, do you think people that say, "Yes, 100%, there's a heaven and hell," do you think they're wearing a mask, that is a mask that they're covering their fear of really not knowing? No one knows.
Beth Demme (29:36):
I do think that religious certainty can be a mask.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:39):
Denominations being a mask?
Beth Demme (29:41):
Definitely. I think that denominations and denominationalism can be a mask. It is also a reflection of wanting to be accepted and wanting to be in community, which, I think, is part of how we are created. We might be wearing a mask so that those relationships are promoted, so that we can be accepted, so that need, that inherent need, is met. Probably, some of that's okay, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:11):
Well, that's an interesting question. Is that okay? I don't know. We've never said that our Discovering Our Scars pod guests about answering questions.
Beth Demme (30:20):
Right! It's an honest conversation!
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:21):
[crosstalk 00:30:21] I know, right? That's probably why you were really sold on our topic of honest conversations. What did you say? You had a great quote you said.
Beth Demme (30:33):
A lot of people are uncomfortable with questions. I'm uncomfortable with answers.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:36):
Answers, yes. So, we are not here to give you the answers.
Beth Demme (30:40):
That was a good one. If you have the answers, feel free to email them to me. You won't be the only one this week who emails me with answers.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:45):
But then, you dissect them. That's not a bad thing.
Beth Demme (30:50):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:51):
That's what I'm saying. I was raised in the Methodist Church. I just accepted how it was because that's how it was. As I got older, I questioned things. I said, "Well, why do we believe this? Why that? Why that?" I wouldn't call myself a Methodist anymore.
Beth Demme (31:12):
We lost another one. Oh, no.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:16):
If I was any denomination, it would be Methodist. I will put that on there. I just consider myself a Christ's follower. I don't consider myself set into any kind of denomination. I don't go to church. You told me I'm going to hell. It's fine.
Beth Demme (31:32):
I promise I did not say that. You don't believe in it. It says [inaudible 00:31:36]. I believe, if you go to hell, it'll be your choice, not God's. I will say that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:40):
I don't. I choose not to go to hell. Perfect. That's all I have to do.
Beth Demme (31:43):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:45):
Get me some alcohol and drugs, because I am ready.
Beth Demme (31:50):
I know you to be a Christ follower. I know you'd be somebody who has your heart and your mind and your ears open to where God is leading you. I don't think God's going to lead you to hell.
Beth Demme (32:00):
Since we've talked about church, I think one of the things that makes church hard and one of the things that gives the church a bad rap is that people often wear masks at church, and that there are expectations about behavior and about opinions, that if you're going to be in this group, if you're going to be in this community, that I've just explained that I think we're all built for that, you got to think a certain way. If you don't have this opinion, then you're not going to be okay. I think that makes people put on masks so that they don't lose that affiliation. I think that has made people who are not part of churches look at churches and go, "Wow, there's a lot of hypocrites in there."
Beth Demme (32:44):
Every pastor will give you the same response when you say that. They'll say, "We got room for one more." It's like the old pastor joke. I don't know that that has necessarily served us well in the church, rather than seeing ourselves as like a hospital, like a gathering of sick people, all in this together. We see it as another place where we can achieve and succeed. We really miss out on something when we do that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:13):
So, what's the answer? Is it okay to wear a mask?
Beth Demme (33:15):
I'm much more comfortable with questions than with answers. I'd like to affirm your question and say that that is-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:22):
That's a good question.
Beth Demme (33:22):
That's such a good question, Stephanie. I think there are times when it is right and appropriate to wear masks, but that it's good to be self-aware enough not to wear the mask so long that you forget who you are.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:38):
Now, it's time for Questions for Reflection. These are questions based on today that Beth is going to read. She'll leave a little pause between each, so you can pause the podcast and answer it to yourself. Or, you can find a PDF of the questions on our website at dospod.us.
Beth Demme (33:52):
Number one, what masks do you wear? Number two, do you wear different masks when you change hats? Why? Number three, are three friends you wear different masks with? How is that different from being your true self? Number four, can you think of a time you interacted with someone you could tell was wearing a mask? How did it make you feel?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:22):
Slice of Life. As you said, it is October 8th.
Beth Demme (34:26):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:27):
9th. It says it right there. Look at that. 2020. We are eight months, nine months into pandemic. Whoo-hoo. I want to ask Beth to explain something. Actually, it may not seem like it but we have a plan for every podcast episode. We have a list of episodes.
Beth Demme (34:47):
I think it seems like it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:48):
I know it so I hope it seems like it. We have a list of things we're going to talk about and we'll add to the list individually. Beth added, there's a weird thing, three weeks ago, she keeps moving it down. She wants to say this and I want to give her space to tell us about this, because I don't understand it at all. Go.
Beth Demme (35:07):
Well, this is actually not the right episode to talk about it in.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:10):
Beth Demme (35:11):
Because it relates to a word. We have two intros, our long one and our short one. It's about a word that I just realized is only in our long one. In our longer intro I say, "I'm a lawyer turned pastor who's all about self-awareness and emotional health because I know what it's like to have neither? Neither? of those things." I never know which pronunciation is correct. When we get to that point in those intros, every other episode, when we do that one, I had this moment of uncertainty, which is the correct pronunciation. I finally did what everybody does and I Googled it.
Beth Demme (35:46):
I found a website called YouGlish. We'll put a link to it in the show notes. Think of YouTube but for English. What they have done is they have collected, or somehow, some computer has done it. I don't know. I can't imagine a human being took time to do this. You type in a word and it pulls up videos of people saying that word. You can choose American English or British English.
Beth Demme (36:14):
Most of them that I saw were TED Talks, where they're actually using that word. You can hear it being pronounced and you don't have to just hear a computer pronounce it. You don't have to just wonder. It turns out that both are correct. Neither and neither are both correct. There used to be a bigger distinction with neither being British and neither being American. But now, it has completely blended and they're used interchangeably in both British English and American English.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:40):
I wanted to say something with the pronounciation.
Beth Demme (36:45):
Pronunciation. You said pronounciation.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:49):
You know what? That's a great point, because my point that I'm going to bring up is something that gets pointed out to me, maybe, once a week on YouTube.
Beth Demme (36:57):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:58):
On YouTube, we have a video about Dremel. We'll put a link in the show notes so you can see how annoying this is. Dremel, the rotary tool for the Dremel, they don't have clear names for their bits and things. In the video, we wanted to use the right terms, but they don't really have terms for their things. For each tool, we kept saying accessory. I would say, "This accessory for the Dremel, duh-duh-duh-duh-duh."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:27):
Based on your reaction, I can see with your face, you know that that's wrong. Me, I have no idea. I still don't hear what's wrong with it. But, people in the comments, if you'd love to read them, many comments, people have explained how badly I'm pronouncing it and how I should be pronouncing it. It's supposed to be accessory, I believe, because I have seen it in a lot of comments, a lot of comments.
Beth Demme (37:51):
It would be really interesting to look that word up on YouGlish and see.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:54):
It would be. I say accessory and everyone in my YouTube comments says I'm wrong. It's annoying. It's accessory. Because it's such a bigger video for us, you get even more of that.
Beth Demme (38:06):
Do you leave those up?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:08):
I have because we got so many of them. I needed people to feel like they could. Then, people will comment on those thing. I was annoyed, too. Thanks for addressing it. It's not hate. It's just kind of like, "Really? That's what we're going to comment on. It's fine."
Beth Demme (38:21):
It's like, "You mean this video that you're getting for free, those information that you're getting for free, you're really bothered by? Okay."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:27):
Actually, most of the comments on that video are really good information. Thanks for sharing. Another word you're going to love how I say it is "ambulance."
Beth Demme (38:37):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:37):
Beth Demme (38:40):
Ambulance. I'm totally laughing with you in that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:45):
The ambulance, yeah.
Beth Demme (38:46):
The ambulance. I know. I know what you mean. That's good enough for me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:52):
I literally can't say it right. I know I say it wrong. I know it sounds funny. I try to avoid it like the plague, if I can, because I don't know. I can't say it right. Ambulance. Ambulance? Ambulance?
Beth Demme (39:05):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:06):
Ambulance. I can't say it.
Beth Demme (39:07):
It's just getting worse.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:09):
Well, thank you, Beth. I am self-aware of that one. I know that one for sure. Also, I say crayon wrong. It's crayon.
Beth Demme (39:17):
You almost said it right.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:18):
I'd say crayon wrong, though. It's actually a southern thing. Crayon.
Beth Demme (39:21):
Do you mean a crown?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:24):
I mean a Crayola writing thing. Are you aware of any words that you say weird?
Beth Demme (39:29):
I remember my kids teasing me about how I've mispronounced things. I'm sure there are words. It's just not coming to mind right now.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:35):
Another one. My friend, Renee, always laughs at me when I say "orange." I don't know what's wrong, but she says I say it weird and wrong. Orange.
Beth Demme (39:45):
It sort of sounds like you're putting an "i" in there.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:47):
Beth Demme (39:47):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:49):
Beth Demme (39:50):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:50):
Orange. That's what I'm saying.
Beth Demme (39:52):
You're kind of orange.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:56):
You're in the same campus. Alright, friends. Great. Thank you. Those are my big words. I didn't know that accessory was wrong. But now, I do know what's wrong-
Beth Demme (40:04):
Now, you know.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:05):
... based on YouTube comments. Thank you, the YouTube community.
Beth Demme (40:08):
Probably, everybody has some word or two that they don't pronounce correctly.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:11):
My goodness. I have another YouTube friend who does woodworking. She's from Jersey. She makes some furniture pieces. She puts in drawers a lot. She literally says drawers for a drawer. Oh, my gosh. I sat across from her at a Home Depot dinner once and she was just telling me how much she has gotten hate on that.
Beth Demme (40:35):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:35):
I was like, "It's so cute." I've noticed her saying it and it's cute. It's because she's from Jersey. That's how they say it. What's wrong with that? Why would you point that out? Well, that was a great. Thank you, Beth, for bringing up that whole guide of the pronunciation.
Beth Demme (40:49):
Yes, you said it correctly.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:51):
I said it right, folks. I'm learning today. I wanted to mention, though, that I am also, along with making DIY videos, I've been starting to make some videos from the woods that I'm calling my author chats. I'm just going to the woods once a week, in my favorite woods here in Tallahassee. They are my woods. I don't own them. But, in my mind, I do.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:09):
I'm just kind of chatting about my book and about some kind of where I am today and how I've gotten here, and just some thoughts and really showing off the beautiful scenery of my woods. I've been doing it every week for a couple of weeks now. I'm on my eighth one. I'm in the process of editing it. I have a special guest in the eighth one. Can you guess who it is, Beth? One guess.
Beth Demme (41:32):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:33):
Wrong. You have to go and see who that special guest is.
Beth Demme (41:37):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:37):
You only got one guess.
Beth Demme (41:38):
Spoiler alert, you all. It's not me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:41):
It's not. Can you imagine that had been ridiculous? Can you guess who it is? I would have been sad for you, Beth. Oh, my. Lastly, I do want to say, thank you, all, for listening. If you're enjoying the podcast, we would love to get a review. The more reviews we have, the more other people will become aware of the podcast and get a chance to listen. In your podcast app that you're in, if you scroll down to the bottom, there'll be, probably, a place where say "Write review." You just click there and you just write whatever you want. It can be something short. "Great podcast, Beth and Steph. Super awesome. Steph can't pronounce ambulance, but we still love her." Whatever you want to write, we approve that. We don't approve it. It just goes, actually. We don't approve it.
Beth Demme (42:32):
We're giving you pre-approval. We're giving you pre-approval to share your written review with us. We're anxious to see what you have to say.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:38):
Yes. Thank you in advance for that. Alright. Thanks for joining us. This has been the Discovering Our Scars podcast.