For those of you wondering about the graphic above...
This is rather rambling, but I don't know how else to do this. On my 'public' Collie's Bestiary pages I've put up most of my school papers that I've written over the years. However, over the last year or so I've had several people tell me that what I really needed on my site was a section dedicated to me... a section that told a little bit about what I liked, that gave links I thought were to interesting places, where I could share humor or personal beliefs or stuff like that.
I hadn't thought very much about it, because I always thought my papers could speak for me adequately enough. However, my sweetie (of 12 years now -- wow, time flies!) heard me make the comment of my papers speaking for me, and he had an excellent point -- the papers aren't me, any more than any other single interest of mine is 'Me'... and the web offered an excellent chance for me to explore who I thought I was.
I'm afraid I'm rather shy inside, as a person... I don't get to know people easily or well. However, as a child I learned that if one wore a 'mask' of charm and conviviality, people would accept you and think well of you... and so I learned how to fake being charming, clever, urbane, witty, whatever. You can see me commenting on integrating new masks into one's personal Self in one of my Interregnum zines, in fact.
As a side note, I try to be careful to not have any masks I wouldn't want to actually be, since I happen to believe Vonnegut's comment, "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Put another way:
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
I'm relatively good at masks, I think, although it startles folks when I use that term. As a consequence I don't tend to give my true opinions on why I may seem successful, or why people consider me a nice person -- because they don't believe me when I say it's all a mask for me. Actually, although this isn't commonly known either, as far as I'm concerned, everything on this site so far is one form or another of mask that I've made for myself.
Once I'd decided to have some personal pages, I started looking for graphics of masks on the web to use. I ended up finding some lovely masks to try to make a new front page with, and even figured out some of the code to put them all up together... but they loaded abysmally slowly, and I couldn't quite get the effect I wanted. I also had concerns about getting permission from all the folks concerned regarding borrowing their images. So I finally decided I'd just make a small, unobtrusive link to a 'me' part of the site and put up a really appropriate graphic there -- but only if I could find the perfect graphic. I had no expectations of doing so, of course. Sneaky way to get out of having a 'me' section on my site, eh? ;-)
That's when I stumbled across Cheryl Mandus' beautiful site, and found her Masquerade page. Completely aside from how lovely it was, the graphic perfectly expressed what I was trying to say. Not only was the woman holding a wide variety of very different masks (both the beautiful and the dangerous), not only did she seem completely comfortable with them (her hands are relaxed, she seems unfazed by being wind-blown), and not only was she calmly hidden behind a 'mask' of facelessness to the intrusive stare of the viewer -- but the penciled-in, black & white, slightly unfinished look of the sketch seemed to clearly state (at least to me) that we are all of us unfinished works in progress... that we are all presenting more than just one 'face' to the world... and that it is when we put on our masks that we bring a little color, background, and beauty to both our own worlds, and the worlds of others.
This is my attempt to bring a little more color, a little more light into the world. Here are some of my personal masks... maybe one of them will resonate for you also. We can never have too much light in this world.
Our Deepest Fear is not that we are inadequate. Our Deepest Fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a Child of God. Your playing small doesn't save the world.
There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the Glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in Every One.
And when we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
-- Nelson Mandella; 1994 inaugural speech
Please bear in mind that just as I consider myself a work in progress, so then must these pages be also. :-)
Last Updated: Wed, February 02, 2000