Mask Mother

“I take pleasure in my transformations.
I look quiet and consistent,
but few know how many women
there are in me.”

by Anais Nin

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Choosing which mask to wear, I reassure myself that the underlying pulse is the same. I put on the mask of concerned mother, casual diva, caustic bitch, apathetic teenager, but when my heart rate slows down, it’s the same hands I look at. They grow more wrinkled with every day, every chapter completed.

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Luxury of choice is not always mine, my mask of re-creation claims me; a new self waits to be born from this transformation. Tendrils clasp through my hair, breath held – here she comes, my crone, my heathen – my harridan – banshee queen. Here she comes with her resounding ‘NO’ and ‘Yes I fucking will’; she scares and saves me in equal measures. She hides within me and waits to be set free.

She waits in empty pockets of transition to be found. She carries my empty shell of a body, hauls me forward to the next stage of what and why. Until I cannot bear her hard edges; her corners cut me. Blood on my hands overwhelms me.

Curling up for escape, I awaken, reaching for my young self. Fingers ache for a soft touch, the mask that watches clouds change shape, the face that tells stories of white feathers and wishes. The glitter mask, moving in the flow of the tides.

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Some times I feel like I didn’t choose to be a mother, not this every day kind of motherhood. It’s a role I play amongst a pile of others, all jumbled up, tangled in piles of washing. Waiting for me at the end of the day, when exhausted by my demanding DNA rubbing up against my own; I reach over to a hidden mask, kept under my bed, dusty with age, waiting for me.

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People with your mask work, who will you be today? Do you choose? Or are you shaken awake by the mask under your bed? That split second before becoming fully present, body hot, heavy under covers, mind in dreams. Do you know who you are?

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