Being Vulnerable & Wearing Masks

I’ve become hyper aware that my writing life and real day-to-day life have hit a impasse that has never been apparent to me before. I love learning more about myself though writing and learning more about the world I inhabit.

In wiring memoir, the author, through her character self, is required to come across as a reliable narrator in the telling of her/his life. Of course, it’s a life the author picked apart so as to choose the parts that make for an interesting tale, yet still rings true for the reader. The narrative needs to both bare the soul to the reader and to tell a story that somehow shows the character changing in some significant way.

As Miss Mona, my pin-up name, I take on a whole other persona. When the winged eyeliner, the red lipstick, the tight sweater or swing dress go on, and the wet set gets brushed out of my temporary red hair I lose a large part of my daily anxiety, and a confidence pops up as soon as I catch a glimpse of the mask in the mirror.

As a teenager I was heavily into make up but it wasn’t until I started working after school and could afford the likes of hair dye and eyeliner that I found myself at home on a stage. Who would believe a periodic agoraphobic could suddenly perform in vaudeville shows, sing, dance, and generally become a person I have never known before. Now I wonder, where did she go? Perhaps she will only ever be seen on the papers of a memoir. For some reason I don’t want to write about that period in my life. It’s like if I pick it to pieces for a story I will kill the fairytale. What if I could find a way back to that place though? A place void of pills and panic attacks, a place where leaving the house was not a decision each day to worry about but rather a given, no thought to it whatsoever.

My mistake was in who I chose to associate with after school’s summer break over 1989/90. Teenagers can be caught up in dramas so much so that they don’t realise the impact they’re having on their friends. In this friendship I lost my identity and conformed to the standards of the group, which were set by the alpha-girl. I put the mask down and gave up on the me that felt good for the sake of acceptance. I put on a new mask, one to hide the pain, to blend in. I started writing. That was the only place it was safe to be me. Of course, no one read any of what I wrote.

To be vulnerable on the page do I have to take off all the masks, or to be vulnerable on the page do I need to find the mask that fits best for what I want to write?

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Journal for a healthy mind

Writing was something I did late at night in high school, sometimes all night, until my parents had me medicated and I lost those creative thoughts in the fog.

I remember my high school made us keep journals from the first week until we graduated, and I was disappointed they’d discontinued this practice by the time my daughter hit high school.

Sometimes, especially in the first year, it was hard to think of things to write about, but as time went on I found those journals to be very beneficial.

Once I was at university I read ‘Freedom Writers’ and saw the movie by the same name, and it brought back memories of high school journals.

I’ve heard about schools introducing meditation to help calm students, make them more focused etc. I also see a lot of parents are unhappy as they feel it has a religious aspect to it. This has not been my experience with meditation but what if students were to have some time at the beginning of the day to journal, dump the chatter running riot in the background of their minds, before the school work begins?

I’m middle aged and I still need to do a ‘brain dump’ of all the useless stuff bogging my thoughts down on an almost daily basis.

Pet Sitting

I’m stuck in a lounge chair trying not to move. My leg hurts but there’s a very large dog in the next room and she’s on fourteen days rest. She disagrees.

My daughter has her spayed last Thursday and since the anaesthetic wore off she’s been wanting to bounce about like Tigger!

Today my daughter is at work and I’m responsible for one recovering dog, one healthy dog outside and one indoor cat that scares dogs for fun. She’s such a tiny thing.

I’d like to write but the turning of pages is picked up by her ears way down in her cone-of-shame. She hears everything. I’ve never been so grateful for the silent function on my phone.

I’ve scrolled social media. Googled everything I could possibly need to know (doesn’t involve sound).

I could be taking pictures of my outfit of the day but I chose practical and I haven’t wrangles day two of a wet set into shape nor have I put on any makeup! I did cleanse, tone and moisturise though. It’s the smallest things that keep us feeling alive.

Time for a changing of the guard soon. Perhaps I’ll be able to concentrate on some writing back in my own home with my own pets.