Have you ever seen or read Great God Brown by Eugene O’Neill? I’ve probably mentioned it before; it’s one of my favourite plays. Not because it’s a good one–actually, it’s very flawed. It’s about people, and the masks they wear for each other and for themselves. It’s about how people usually don’t see anything in anyone else beyond the masks, sometimes not even recognizing their loved ones without the masks.
I was thinking about that today. I thought of all the masks I’ve ever worn, the masks I’m probably wearing now, and I had this mental image of a stick figure with mask upon mask upon mask upon mask. For 7 years now, I’ve been consciously working on unmasking myself and trying to figure out what’s beneath all those masks. I wondered if I’ve made any strides or if I’ve just been substituting different masks for the ones I’ve removed.
When I shared this thought tonight with J., Art Therapist Extraordinaire, she reminded me of an onion and all its layers. She also reminded me that the onion can be rotated, and with each minute rotation a different face reveals itself. All those faces are real. They’re all different. And they’re all beautiful.
Maybe there’s nothing wrong with masks, as long as I know when I’m masking myself and when I’m exposing my true nature. Not everyone needs to see all my layers; not everyone needs to see every aspect of me. There are things that I want to keep private, and I have decided that’s okay.
So tonight in art therapy, J., made a plaster cast of my face. And she took great pleasure in something that she saw as one of my beauties, something I’ve always seen as unattractive. My eyes droop down at the outer edges, and I’ve always thought of it as ugly. But not too long ago I was noticing that Sarah Michelle Gellar Prinze, someone I’ve always thought extremely beautiful, has eyes that droop down at the outer edges. So maybe it’s not ugly. Maybe I just need to look at it differently. And when J. made my mask, she accentuated and emphasized the shape of my eyes. And it looks beautiful on my mask. I can’t wait to sit down and adorn it, inside and out, and see what I can make of it.
Not on the subject of masks, but the incomparable Izzybella surprised me by sending a lovely floral arrangement to me at work. Receiving flowers is utterly delightful. They make my desk smell wonderful, and they’re just beautiful. Also–purple streaks are coming, I hope, this week. Photos will be posted as soon as the streaks are.