Survivor Journals

Survivor Journals:   Year I

Round 4     by Paulineee

The challenge assignment for round 4:


We all wear them, just not for the same reasons. What are we hiding? What do we use to shield ourselves from those around us?

What 3 masks do you wear most often? More importantly, why?

Three masks? I don't think I have three masks. I may have more than three, or less than three, but not exactly three.

What's so special about the number three anyway? I know it has great symbolic significance in many religions and mythologies but this is a journal entry.. I should be able to have as many (or as few) masks as I please.

Three is an odd number. Odd, as in not even, and odd as in strange. I would prefer to think I had an even number of masks, in point-counterpoint fashion. Public/private; mother/daughter; Madonna/whore (to borrow symbols from another religion); tomboyish/feminine; that's a lot more than three and I barely scratched the surface. Where's the balance for the third mask, the odd one out? Contemplating it is upsetting my sensibilities.

If we must have an odd number, five (or greater) would be better. With five you can almost make a circle, or at least a figure with some semblance of smoothness. With three all you get is a triangle, which has very sharp points.

And that, folks, is an example of mask #1. The glib, argumentative mask (with a tendency towards the crotchety), meant to distract from the fact that I don't feel smart enough, witty enough, or well informed enough to discuss the topic at hand. The best defence is a good offence and if you undermine the validity of the topic, there's no need to delve into it. It helps if you can be amusing at the same time; self-deprecating humour is allowable.

I don't wear this one as often as I used to... it was a staple in earlier times.

Mask #2 is a mask many women use abundantly, without guilt or regret: literally, the mask of makeup.

There's an expression women used to use, "putting on my face", meaning applying makeup and otherwise making themselves presentable to the world. I don't like the look of a lot of makeup, and I've yet to meet a man who claims to like it; so why do women bother? For other women? For themselves? Does hiding behind a cosmetic blur give you self-confidence, or does it take it away, knowing that how you feel about yourself depends on your disguise?

I use this mask in a somewhat perverse way, hardly using it at all. When I was a teenager, I used makeup to hide the inevitable acne, and I looked forward to the time when I would be able to go out naked; I still relish that freedom. A dab of powder on the nose, a swoosh of colour on the eyelids if I'm really ambitious, a smear of lipstick and I'm done. Twenty seconds, tops.

I'd like it to say to the world, "I don't need makeup, I accept myself as I am." " I'd like to think it suggests that I'm down to earth, practical, pragmatic, realistic, grounded in reality. This in itself is a mask, as I view myself as intelligent but emotional, sometimes given to flights of fancy. A mask that isn't a mask.. it fits with one of my favourite strategies, "hiding in plain sight".

I need one more mask, don't I..

I guess a mask that I wear more than any other is the mask of polite behaviour (otherwise known as "civilization"). It's impractical on many levels to do or say whatever we please, whenever we please, but to do otherwise is necessarily to wear a mask. The best mask will hide the unpleasant and unacceptable, while allowing the positive to show through. That's a very difficult balance to attain. The question in the topic asks, "What do we use to shield ourselves from those around us?" but masks do more than that.. masks also shield those around us from ourselves.

Want to surf the entries in ring form? Go here and choose "Ring mode" for any one journal to begin.

The Other Participating Journals:

And If I Die Before I Wake
Funny The World
Hell Is Other People
Nova Notes
On My Lap & From My Mind
Quiet Moments

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