MASKS of LIfe
When I think back on this family time, I remember all of the masks I wore in my lifetime. Some were actual masks because I collect them and wear them sometimes. But many masks were artificial roles I took on as life went by year by year.
As a child, by age two, I was an angry child. I decided if I couldn't get attention by being good, then I would be bad as I could be. Here is a mask I would have chosen for that time.
Once my parents were worn down from trying to manage my rage, a few "solutions" were put into effect which caused me to live outside my body, not in a good way, for several years. Here is the mask I chose for that period.
At between twelve and thirteen, I went into a passive rebellion. My mother blamed it on my girlfriend. She said I was a perfectly good girl until Tony came along. We were wild. We had a great time. The mask I chose for that period is this one.
If I could have, I would have worn all black, all of the time, black make up, black clothes, black nails. It was a very dark place inside.
Some time around sixteen, I put on the mask of shame. It looked like this. I was going to become the freak I thought of as myself. This mask lead to a double life. To comply, I had a proper girl, then when I drank alcohol, I let down and became the freak I felt inside.
At 35, I got caught up in the shame and fear around AIDS. I began having panic attacks at 35 and sleepless nights worrying about my entire family dying of AIDS. This was an existential crisis. I was suicidal, homicidal and very depressed. Thank heave I never acted on any of those urges. Yes, I had engaged in some risky behavior, but nothing anyone could say relieved my anxiety. I attended a self help support group, sought medical treatment for depression. I had been depressed before but I treated it with drugs, alcohol and sex from fifteen through thirty-five. At thirty-five, I stopped using sex and drugs, but not alcohol. I drank for another five years when my daughter was young. I regret this. My daughter doesn't blame me. I don't blame myself anymore either. Here is the mask I chose for that period of time. This is Donatello's sculpture of Mary Magdalene Grieving. I was definitely grieving for the loss of my best friends, alcohol, drugs and sex.
Then came sobriety at forty. The panic attacks continued for the next twenty years. I was out of my mind. I looked and sounded like an insane person to me. Though I worked throughout that time, I wondered why anyone would want to hire me. It was during this time I began to put the puzzle pieces of a life of trauma and abuse together, mine, my father's, my mother's, my sisters, everyone I knew. Sobriety took so much courage. I have never been so afraid, all of the time. I was depressed and fearful for twenty years. It took me that long to recover from my childhood trauma. Here is the mask I chose for this period.