Two years ago I was new to the fold (again). My creativity was encouraged and put to use at several women’s events at my church. I created a masquerade mask, having spent time in Venice for Carnival a few years back it seemed logical to me the mask should be ostentatious, glamourous and secretive. As I got involved in the aim and requirements of the gathering, the conception of the mask made me think alot about social media, about projection, about being real.
Below is the mask I created for the event. I specifically used peacock feathers for the bird has an element of pride associated with it. The pearls and diamantes have a deliberate fakeness about them. I picked copper to signify how malleable our identity is to change when we personify a chameleon who has no identity! It was also key for me to keep the eyes looking hollow, I hoped to convey the despair we see when the mask is firmly in place. This was my take on the masks we put in place to hide who we really are in the mirror. The eyes are the window to the soul -right?
We all create our own masks, then we project it and live out the illusion. We cover up the scars and wounds that we think define us. Take that well known social media site where “likes” are said to validate someone’s worth; as they see it. I know that I have been judgemental of a friend who dares to be honest and actually post how they really feel! Initially my response is caring acknowledgement and a ‘comment’ or private message a of support. However, several real posts more and I get annoyed or “like” without actually reading the whole thing! Guilty! I don’t want to have to deal with it. By ignoring them I suspect I am helping perpetuate their hurt when I really think it’s in their best interest to not indulge their dare I call it self-pity. For the majority of people it is about projecting the good and great in their lives. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! I just question sometimes if it is an authentic or projected reality. And sadly that is because I do not have a friendship of depth with that friend.
Then there are the forward/repost if statuses! I intensely dislike them; A: because I watch too many TED talks on algorithms, as it’s probably a marketing ploy/phishing scam/something to increase my inbox, or B: because I find being told to do something or appear heartless (my perception) annoying and I would rather not be annoying to anyone else. So I scroll past. Yet again by ignoring the post I feel I am perpetuating rather than solving the problem.
I read somewhere, I forget where, that you shouldn’t ask someone how they are unless you are willing to hear the truth. So now I don’t ask people “how are you?” Unless I genuinely have time to listen. I’m not sure if this makes me rude or aloof or both!?!? However I feel that I would do more harm than good if I encountered someone and made them feel worse just because I’m going through the motions of saying hello. Keen to know your thoughts on this; comment below if you have any.
I digress. Back to the mask. The mask was designed to be an interactive piece. You can see the flip side below. So here is my logic: the words inside the mask disappear when the mask is in place. However, they still remain. Embedded in the skin. You can cover it up but you cannot remove it. When the mask slips, and it always does… be that due to the heaviness of the situation or the method used to subdue it (substance misuse) or a rare moment of reality or someone; then the scars become visible again. They hurt and diminish strength.
In those moments of weakness, desperation, it can go either way. You could get help or spiral further. The hardest of these is of course asking for help. Admitting you are vulnerable. But you need that vulnerability to get help. It is never easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is. Authentic relationships need vulnerability. They need honesty. They need communication.
Help, in this construtive form, comes in many guises. Therapy, friendship, pastoral care, medical help and all because an authentic relationship was established. A trusting relationship that is a safe space.
Getting help with whatever you going through is incredibly brave. I salute you. But, can you imagine having peace too? No more residual hurt to upset or destabilise you? Being able to talk openly about it without shame? To not hate anyone who contributed to your suffering? Can you?
Well if you can’t the only tried and tested way I know of to heal, truly heal, is to be saved. If you can find a grain of sand space in your heart to let Jesus in then you can have healing and peace. It won’t be easy and it requires said vulnerability, honestly and communication.
Your true identity will be revealed to you in Him. No more masks required. No more hiding. No more fasçades. The scars will still be there. Be certain of that, but, they will only serve as a reminder of where you were and how far you have come. If you fall over and reopen a scar, worry not! He has got you! Just hold on tight to your relationship with Him for your life really does depend on it!
Thanks for reading this post on how my mind takes on an artwork with purpose. All thoughts and feedback welcome. Be blessed and take care of you!
Lastly, I’m thinking of and praying for all affected by and in the path of Hurricane Irma. Be safe, I pray all see God in the aid, volunteers, in the communities locally and internationally pulling together, in one another as survivors. I’m thankful the people I know in the area (4 couples) are safe. May help be given financially in aid and in prayer. Amen.