Friday, March 30, 2007


Images, a way of seeing. I was talking to a couple of the fellow teachers at the True North Learning Center last night and the subject of masks came up. It got me to thinking that it's another way to see our images and how others perceive us.

Of course, we all wear masks, whether we're aware of them or not. I've noticed that as I've become away of my different masks, when I've worked on what they are and why I wear them, I've realized that sometimes a mask is a protection and other times a trap.

Of course we have to wear masks when we're out in the world to protect ourselves and protect other people too. I wear a mask of "harmless, funny, good-natured sweet lady" when I'm out and about, so that I treat people well and so that I'm perceived well and treated well. And really, the mask is close to my own real self, so what's the harm?

The harm comes when someone mistakes a mask for me--as in "I can't believe you write murder mysteries, you're such a nice person, so why do you have--fill in the blank with something that person thinks doesn't fit me--in your story?" That's a trap.

And it's a trap when it becomes too rigid: "You're a mystery writer so all you'll write is mysteries."

And finally, when I mistake a mask of mine for me, that's the biggest trap of all. When I believe what I see at "face value." That I am the mask: that all I'll write is mysteries.

So, what are your masks? How do they help you? Hinder you? Or blind you?


Anonymous said...


Do you think that your masks are what I think of as Roles?

Conda Douglas said...

It might be. We all assume roles, don't we? But I think it may be a little more subconscious or even unconscious than a "role" when we wear masks. Closer to our skin, maybe. After all, we wear certain clothes to work to "assume a role" but "mask" our feelings no matter what we are wearing!