So throughout this blog I have always talked about both the style and the meanings behind my poetry. I am starting to reach a point where I no longer feel the need to discuss my technique because I utilize the same general techniques in many of my poems. So for now on I will only be discussing technique if I utilize something new.
That being said, let’s get into “The Mask”. This poem is a big coming out for me. Before this I released poems that talked about being unhappy and such, but this poem describes the life I have been living for longer than I know. I can’t remember when I put on my mask. For as long as I can remember, I would hide my terror at making a mistake with a veil of confidence and sarcasm. I would sprinkle in some self deprecating jokes and a morbid sense of humor to mask the moments that reality leaked through. I was good at this. I recently confessed to my mom that I hated myself in high school. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. For years I hid that from my family and friends. I can’t speak for her, but I think it caught her by surprise. To give some background, my mom is a guidance counselor who works with a lot of kids who struggle with things like depression, so for her to not know when her own son was struggling was tough. I regret not talking to her. I regret not telling anyone. But I hid for so long that I sort of forgot that I was hiding at times. My main source of fear (I don’t call it depression or anxiety because that would warrant a diagnosis and I am no doctor) is perfectionism. To me, building a mask was always a better option than admitting that I was unhappy. To be sad or angry was imperfect in my mind. I prefered to work on my cocky, sarcastic, morbid, borderline egotistical character than reveal the mess of a person underneath. Every little mistake, I internalized rather than express how it hurt.
The poem tells the result. If you listened to last week’s poem you know that I recently went through a pretty rough patch. After being able to so casually keep on the mask, this struggle made me break character. “For the first time in forever I shall see my own face in the mirror.” I was caught off guard by how far gone I really was. I have been trying to get ahold of who I was before, but so far separating the mask from reality has been extremely hard and I fear the old me is forever changed. It is sort of like those pictures of a tree growing around a sign. I have fused to my mask and now am in the painful process of tearing myself away from it. I keep catching myself trying to shell up again. I’ll build a part of a mask and catch myself. I am trying to figure out how to live without this crutch.
I also want to make something clear. If you are hiding, if you built your own mask, take it off. Tell someone and get help. If you can’t take it off, ask for help. If you can’t tell someone in person just yell into your keyboard. I couldn’t talk about this in person. I have conditioned myself to lie about feelings, but something about just typing things out makes it easier. So, set yourself free. Whatever it takes, be real, be you and I’ll do my best to be me.