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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Support Group -- MASKS

"Well we all have a face that we hide away forever,
and we take them out and show ourselves when everyone has gone.
Some are satin, some are steel, some are silk, & some are leather.
They're the faces of the stranger, but we love to try them on"
-- Billy Joel, The Stranger

That Sunday, June 22nd, we made masks.

It was our third or fourth meeting, and only five women came: L, T, P, ? and me.

Despite the small group, or perhaps because of it, the atmosphere was conducive to intimate conversation.

It's funny; by making virtual masks, we revealed what lies behind our very real, albeit invisible, masks.

The facilitator brought markers, and feathers, string, and... sparkly pipe-cleaners.

I immediately chose a few sparkly pipe-cleaners and quickly cut them to size/shape: sparkly gold pipe-cleaners to line my eyes, and form my eyebrows; sparkly red pipe-cleaners to form round circles, for my cheeks. Then I lined the opening for my eyes with translucent green cellophane. I attached t'chelet (periwinkle blue) string to either side, to tie the mask over my eyes.

What does my mask mean? It's simple.

The pipe-cleaners represent my energy, and joy. They are the dominant features, and I want my mask to reflect that. The green cellophane represents the thin, almost invisible, layer that hides my eyes, so you can't look too deep, and see the pain that is within. The t'chelet strings represent the tears, that sometimes escape, despite the smiling veneer.

I wear my mask, so people smile when they see me.

I wear my mask, so people talk to me with joy.

I wear my mask, so people treat me like I'm going to live forever.

I wear my mask, because I like the way it looks on me.

I wear my mask, because that's what I want to see when I look in the mirror!

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Sarah said...

Hi RivkA,
Isn't it *so* interesting that we both wrote in our blogs today about the same issue...hiding behind the 'everything is fine' mask. I didn't have the word "mask" at my fingertips, it may have helped when I was trying to express myself tonight in my writing. Thanks for your joyful eyes, and also for what is under your mask. Hugs.

Anonymous said...


How do I get to your blog (still learning all this).


Your writing is so refreshingly honest and brave - and yes, happy. I can't believe it only to be a mask, I do believe that happiness is a big part of you. I only wish I could convey such lightness and joy as you do. You have something so wonderful to give to this world.



The Five + of Us said...

During our art therapy studies we did some work with mask-making, and afterwards I continued the work, making a series of masks as part of my Personal Learning Contract (another class requirement, but done as an independent study project over the course of the year). For each mask I wrote up a description of the feeling or event that inspired the mask. It was a very personal and powerful experience, and the masks are still meaningful to me when I see them on my studio wall.

Juggling Frogs said...

I loved the mask you've described.

"The green cellophane represents the thin, almost invisible, layer that hides my eyes, so you can't look too deep, and see the pain that is within."

Eyes are a bi-directional soul portal.

That layer covering your eyes also is a pain filter for how you see the world.

The green layer protects your pain from being exposed to the world, but also from all the pain from coming entering your soul, too.

Yours is the mask of hope and optimism, just like your signature!

RivkA with a capital A said...

Thanks for sharing such wonderful thoughts and insights!

I like Juggling Frogs idea that the mask is a two-way filter -- in the same way as the mask ensures that my happiness is "going out", it also ensures that happiness is "coming in."

Daveda said...

So beautifully written .... sending good and strong healing thoughts your way.