Holding On To the Last Mask

Hanging on to the Last Mask by Cheryl McDonald
Holding On to the Last Mask by Cheryl McDonald

Time for another pencil painting story. This drawing is part of the series called “Left Hanging in Space”.

I had been given a bunch of ceramic Mardi Gras masks a few years ago and it started me thinking about masks. Masks hide your identity. People love wearing them during Halloween and Mardi Gras because they feel a sense of freedom. Maybe they can be someone different for just a little while.

I remember reading some psychology book in college about how we all have masks that we use in different parts of our lives as coping mechanisms to deal with situations that might be uncomfortable for us. We may have a professional demeanor for work, a more authoritarian and loving demeanor when dealing with our children, or maybe when lacking self confidence, we might add a sense of superiority to protect ourselves. Almost never do we allow the real self out without some protection of some sort of mask.

I thought about authenticity and the benefit of honesty in relationships. For me it’s so much easier just not to lie, because then I don’t have to remember what the lie was so I can keep telling it!

Over the years I have shed many masks and taken on new ones, never quite able to get rid of them all and I think that’s ok. I do have moments of true authenticity however if I am honest about it, there is always one still in place to protect that soft core center within.

What about you? How grand is your mask?

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