All of us have the ability to edit our truth and show the more personal and presentable aspects of ourselves, it is a necessary survival strategy. We wouldn’t get very far if we spoke and acted exactly how we felt in any situation. Having a ranting meltdown might be ok in the privacy of your home, but wouldn’t go down too well at work, on the bus or in a restaurant.
We can get into trouble however if these masks, or personas we show get locked in place, or were never of our choosing in the first place. We can forget how it feels to be genuine and true and feel like strangers to ourselves.
‘Suitable’ displayed behaviour is set very early on, whether overt and verbal – “we don’t do THAT at the dinner table” – or by implied but no less powerful messages, such as quiet children are more acceptable.
Many masks we wear are so familiar, so automatic that we don’t even know they are there. If we are not conscious of them we can’t question their validity. Do I really believe it’s dangerous to be angry? Is it possible to look after myself before caring for others? Would I really be rejected if I show my sadness?
There is a tremendous freedom in actively choosing what we show the world as opposed to having our roles assigned by family, gender or society. We can still make use of them, but are no longer trapped behind them.
We are exploring masks in the next Creative Club, using mixed media prompts, video demos, meditations, a really interesting supportive community, looking at Jungian psychology… and bonus goodies too.