Following along with the theme over at Shakti Mama, this week’s ‘Woman Love Thyself’ post is about masks. You know, the things we hide behind? Those. I’ve thought long and hard about this subject, have read posts by some of the other participants (I’m shooting for reading three new blogs each day from the list!) and decided that the things I hide behind are not necessarily things I wear. *Note-I liked Shakti’s face painting photos so much that I had to do my own. It was FUN =D

Currently, I am reading Eckhard Tolle’s, ‘A New Earth.’ Late, I know, but anyway here at the beginning of the book he is discussing ego and this line relates to one of my masks: The unconscious compulsion to enhance one’s identity through association with an object is built into the very structure of the egoic mind.

So when I define myself as a horse lover or the driver of a maxi-van, these are masks. Power, bigness (not quiet the same as largeness, is it?) are things I hide behind. I do it to protect myself, to psyche people out, to make folks think that because I’m big and bad, I’m…well *really* big and bad. It’s rare for anyone to see beyond the ruse to the marshmallow underneath and honestly, I’m not sure I want them to. Not yet. I have a lot of pain and hurt in that marshmallow. I’ve let people into my soft, oozy heart with complete blind and open-hearted trust and had them scorch my innards in ways that I can only hope to recover from.

So, while I see myself escaping the confines of materialism as a way to satisfaction, I also see that my ego is bound up with or hiding behind, things.

The eyes are window to the soul.

Like so many of the other moms doing this growth project, I also hide behind the camera, the kids, the seemingly normal, middle-aged woman that outsiders perceive me to be. At the same time I rebel against being so easily pigeonholed by these descriptives. I am so much more! Feisty and firey and high strung. Mildly agoraphobic, introverted, people loving, enigmatic and prone to migraines when in department stores like Roses and Wal Mart. I am sexual and grumpy and I sleep far more than any other person I know who isn’t one of my offspring.

Sun/Moon, Cancer with Aries rising

Or is that just a list of more things to hide behind? More things to define something undefinable? That little scorched marshmallow thing that very few get to see and even fewer are gentle with? Maybe.

There is also the subject of day-to-day makeup. Mascara, eye liner, powder, blush … a long list of things we can employ to define and enhance our features and to cover up our flows. Our society dictates that women, especially, are to appear to be as flawless as possible. We should not have pimples, wrinkles or dark circles–the badges of stress, age or lack of sleep.

I wear makeup when I visit my father or mother, both of whom are very looks-oriented. I fall short, despite my best efforts to fit into their definition of feminine beauty, for several reasons: I can only try so hard to fit an image I don’t believe in and because of my coloring, figure and lifestyle I cannot ever be the beauty queen they want. It’s okay. I try and they accept that I’m doing just that.

Most of the time, though, I don’t wear makeup. This is not one of the masks I choose very often. I’m posting a you tube video here that speaks to me on this subject. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Makeup, maxi-vans or middle age, my masks are there and I’m back here peeking out at you. Like the crab my Astrological sign says I am, I may pop out at any moment only to scuttle back to safety. Will I let them go someday? Maybe, maybe not.

At any rate, I’m evolving as fast as I can.


About Bettina Colonna Essert

Illuminated Magdalene High Priestess and facilitator of empowerment and healing circles for girls and women, including a monthly Red Tent Temple. BA in English, minor in anthropology. Waldorf homeschool mom. Reiki master, cranial sacral therapist, herbalist, menstruvist, feminist, epicurian.
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3 Responses to Masks

  1. Terry says:

    What’s with our parents? My mom was a Miss Ocean View, and she and my paternal aunts wanted me to grow up to be Miss America. Of course, they wanted my brother to be President.
    She refers to her neighbor “that fat, blonde who’s as wide as she is tall.” After hearing this a few times, I finally said, “Mom, she’s your neighbor. Don’t you know her name?”
    She waved the air and said, “I’ve got it written down somewhere.”
    Yet, she knows the full name of her other neighbor, a slim 81-year- old retired surgeon. She call him “Joe,” rather than “skinny, pipqueak sawbones with a comb over.”

  2. Terry says:

    Oh, yeah, the point. The masks others want to see or foist upon another.

  3. Leslie says:

    I LOVE your photos–the face painting is so whimsical and fun!
    Your eyes really stand out.

    It’s so easy to find yet another description to hide behind. I like that you’re open to being behind them or not. That’s honest.

    It’s nice to ‘meet’ you and I look forward to getting to know you more during the next 8 weeks. Thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving your kind note. You’ll see me again soon!

    much warmth!

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