Tag Archives: mask

The Wilderness Within (Part 2)

October 2nd 2017 12:05 PM

I am sitting in a park near my house. Buffalo Park? McPhearson Park? I’m not sure. I’ve been having a really tough week emotionally. It has had its ups and downs. I’m doing well in school. I’m staying on top of my homework, usually finishing assignments the day before they are due, with the exception of this. I’m making huge progress with aerial silks. My body is getting so strong and graceful.

Yet, inside I feel this intense gloom. Am I just acknowledging it now? Has it finally reached a tipping point from “I can handle this” to “well…shoot. I can’t handle this handle more?” I feel like I’m walking through the world with a mask on, a façade to hide what I’m really thinking. Yay for social likeability; nay for personal truth.

The Mask

 Always a mask
Held in the slim hand whitely
Always she had a mask before her face–

 Truly the wrist
Holding it lightly
Fitted the task;
Sometimes however
Was there a shiver,
Fingertip quiver,
Ever so slightly–
Holding the mask?

 For years and years and years I wondered
But dared not ask
And then–
I blundered,
Looked behind the mask,
To find
She had no face.

 She had become
Merely a hand
Holding a mask
With grace.

–Author unknown


This poem was displayed during my scene during Dark Sky Aerial’s TILT production this summer at the Monte Vista. My character was the Oracle: a beautiful, 11-foot-tall woman in a gorgeous white dress. Rose petals and candles were all around me as I held a creepily elegant mask to my face. Yet, I didn’t have a face. I wore a nude stocking on my head to match the essence of the poem, and my own life. In the background, there was a recording of audience members’ confessions and answer to the question “What would you say if you were wearing a mask?” When people bought their tickets there was an opportunity for them to share their inner world. Later during my scene, it became their outer world when they could hear “me” speak their confessions out loud while wearing a mask (technically two…or three if I count my own).

This experience performing public art was powerful for me. I began to challenge my own interactions with other people. Do I really mean what I am saying right now? Is this ME interacting with them right now? I was faced with being exposed to my own conditioning in the world. There are SO many times in our lives that scripts are laid out for us. And almost as many times where we fall into the cycle of following along.

I’ve been thinking this week a lot about what depression is. Is it related to the inner critic? All I hear is judgments, anger, and disappointment. I noticed that I talk crap about myself through other people. For example, I recently got food on campus. I ordered a smoothie at Jamba Juice and went next door to get tacos while I was waiting for the smoothie to be done. When they call my number, I walk up with tacos in hand to grab my smoothie and the guy next to me looks down at me and says “Pig!” He never said a word, or even looked at me. This was all in myself. A part of me is using other people to put down my own self. Has this always been the case? I’m not sure. I’ve only noticed it in the last few months, maybe the last year. Perhaps a part of me is too “nice” to be so mean to myself so it projects it on to other people to make myself seem like the innocent victim.