One more thing. I am using a path copy and pasted from illustrator onto the layer... so the path was not drawn in after effects (don't know if this makes a difference or not).
I see that Todd responded and linked you to a thread with options. Here are ones I had typed up before his response (some of these are in the link he put, but not all of them).
Option 1: Make the grey layer a 3d layer and fly your After Effects camera through it. (for depth you would need to create many copies of the grey layer and offset them a pixel or so in z-space).
Option 2: Import your Illustrator item into AE and use it as a track matte for a grey layer
Option 3: Click to select your mask and press ctrl+t (Cmd+t on a Mac) and you can easily scale up your mask (you would want to set a keyframe for the mask shape the small size then move ahead and do the mask transformation.)