Girl With A Mask

The girl with a mask.

She was hiding her lingering past, the mistakes that had etched themselves into her skin, and the stone of disappointment lodged in her throat. I was the girl with the mask, concealing the mistakes that engraved themselves into labeling past memories with the disappointment that filled in the gaps that became my thoughts. They painted the world an obscure and sharp color that seemed to define everything I interacted with. In that dark murky room, I panicked and frantically dragged my palm along the jagged walls all while silently hoping for any exit. Yet the panic and discomfort were caged in my head while the traces of their existence were invisible on my face. It was a naive and funny thought that those emotions would somehow fade as time went by, like the lone forgotten sock tucked away in the back of the dusty closet, but they multiplied like fungus in the abandoned corners of my mind.

Then one day, I encountered a short film called “Scavengers”. The film focuses on two characters that are trapped in a world filled with unusual creatures as they seamlessly make use of the creatures in order to use them to produce an illusion of Earth. When I watched the video, I was slightly amused and scoffed at them thinking they were foolish for putting so much effort into running away from their reality. However, their desperation held a sense of familiarity and I soon realized that I too have been running from my current reality. I realized how pointless and pathetic I had labeled them to be when I saw them carry out the process effortlessly, implying it had been repeated numerous times and each time they fell into beginning of the cycle where they would cling onto their fantasy of returning home to Earth. Portraying their hallucinations of returning, the image below is a scene from the short film where one of the characters, a woman, is in the middle of an illusion which can be seen as another woman is able to pass through her transparent body. 

“Scavengers” on Vimeo

After watching the film, the words that had slipped out ever so easily were, ‘They should just accept their reality as is and learn how to live in their current situation, even if it’s hard’. From this discovery, I felt the need to force myself to face the shadows that had been festering and terrorizing me. Beyond my feelings of fear of the emotional pain, what overpowered it was my hatred towards my cowardice.

Specifically, the fact that I was constantly ready to drop everything and run the moment things started to get hard. I had told myself repeatedly that I would do anything but run when an opportunity to face those feelings had ever presented itself. As if my thoughts had been answered, an opportunity crept forward, and I felt rooted in place. I was disappointed that all the determination that I had been collecting instantly diminished and that I was faced with the strong urge to hide while pretending that I hadn’t noticed. Eventually, I confided in an adult who I had come to trust and she responded saying, “I understand that you want to confront your problems, but is this the only time you can ever face it?”. Those words carried a wave of warmth that had washed away the shadows looming in my mind.

Through her never ending support, I learned how impactful having an umbrella to shield you from the harsh prickling rainstorm is. With her encouraging words in mind, I found a connection to a poem I had encountered called The Raincoat, as like the narrator I too discovered that,

“I’ve been under her raincoat thinking it was somehow a marvel that I never got wet.”

All in all, the support from her, the short film, and the poem had altered my outlook on my situation. I learned that it’s okay to take breaks, crumble, and not be constantly motivated. If you fail at something you don’t need to succeed the next time, if you lose the courage you don’t need to force yourself to climb the expressionless wall that towers over you, if you’re wounded you don’t need to carelessly cover your wounds and throw yourself out onto a battlefield. The point is, that you need to let yourself heal and breathe in order to be able to take on the giant that taunts you.

Not only is it important to be able to practice acceptance, and patience with yourself, but also to take care of emotions. Recently, I collaborated with others to make an infographic that addressed processing emotions and listing healthy ways to cope with them. This provided a learning experience that focused on spending time to heal emotional struggles and healthy ways to relieve them.

Moreover, I also realized that hiding the scars on my skin doesn’t erase the ones on my heart, but choosing to take time to live with their jagged laced edges would transform them into a hopeful reminder rather than a burden. 

Now she doesn’t need a mask.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s