Yes… but not that kind.

I’ve reading Kim Gordon’s Girl in Band and Richard Hell’s I was a very clean Tramp, and I’ve really been resonating with a lot of what I’ve been reading, particularly of all things, to do with performance and masks. This was the initial quote in Girl in Band that really resonated with me, and has been tossing around in my brain ever since:

“…I came across one […] word[], Maskenfreiheit. It means “the freedom conferred by masks.” It’s always been hard for me to make a space for myself emotionally around other people. It’s some old childhood thing, a sense of never feeling protected by my parents or from my older brother, Keller, who used to tease me relentlessly when we were growing up – a sense that no ones out there was really listening. Maybe for a performer that’s what the stage becomes: a space you can fill up with what can’t be expressed or gotten anywhere else. Onstage, people have told me, I’m opaque or mysterious or enigmatic or even cold. But more than anything, I’m extremely shy and sensitive, as if I can feel all the emotions swirling around in a room. And believe me when I say when you push past my persona there aren’t any defenses there at all.” KG

Minus the performance part, it described me as a kid. I pushed under all emotions after being repeatedly told as a kid, I was ‘too soft’, and it almost became a point of pride that no one could make me cry. Cut to a couple of years ago, in a week long performance workshop in which we all lived in the space,which went to, thinking I would get over my fear of being onstage, and instead cried every fucking morning. It was implied I hid behind a mask, while judging everyone else.

” I would become an example of how if you wear a mask long enough it becomes your face” RH

It didn’t occur to me that that was how I would be perceived, I had built up so many walls to protect my sensitivity, my weirdness, and of course the acting intensive was all about crashing them down. I guess it was kind of stupid for me to go and not think I’d have to open up, get vulnerable. Needless to say, I reacted badly.

The quote, “[w]e played army in the dirt piles. Scouting over a hill for enemies, I had the first scientific insight I can remember. I realized that in order to see anyone, I had to expose enough of my own head that I’d be visible too[] ” RH has also been making me tick, and inspired a series of collage- of masks, that reveal more than they hide.

I used the Lists in the time of Corona blog post last week, to create a series of lists as a basis for each collage:

A list of a (vulnerable) experience – after Charles Green Shaw

A list of 29 things that describe myself- after H.L Mencken

A list of (my version of) the female sensibility- after Joan Synder

For more on Maskenfreiheit, this is a good read,


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