One Single Impression: Mask

No mask,she said.
Not even an eye mask, she said.
No, no,


Though the mask was beautiful
Though it worked so well with the costume
Though it completed the illusion
Though I had made it
For her

And I

Her mother

Said so.

No, she said. I won't.

I am a witch
Dancing in a sea of flames
And this is my cape full of black magic
I am a witch


Under the brim of this pointed
Pilgrim's hat

I will look you in the eye and be that.

I can look you in the eye and be that.

No mask.

There's some family history in this one. For most of Adella's life, I have made her Halloween constumes. The year of the witch costume, she did, indeed, refuse to wear the mask. As the tone of this poem suggests, she was adamant and I was annoyed. I am slow seamstress, and the project took a good long while. The word "brat" crept into my thoughts more than once. In the end, she had her way.

Looking back, I realize I was the brat, though. She was telling me something important that I didn't hear because I couldn't get past the time I had put into the making of the costume. She was telling me in her sweet, direct, innocent, uncomplicated way that she could be the witch. Be the witch. Not pretend to be the witch, but be the witch. This wasn't about embracing the contradiction (the witch and the Pilgrim/angel/little sweetheart of my wild imagination) because there wasn't one. She would live the adventure, not pretend to. Her mind did not divide the world into good and bad; her mind embraced the world as it was--beautiful and whole.

Masks disturbed her. She could sit down and paint and decorate one because gluing stuff together was fun, but these baubles were not for wearing. They suggested division and contradiction, concepts that shook her world from the outside; she was not willing then to let them in.

Thinking of masks this week, my mind wandered to the craft store and the plastic masks that look like skins ripped off the faces of department store mannequins. They are vacant, cold. Though the masks of old were intended to convey the thoughts and personality of the characters wearing them, these masks refuse entry to the observer. In this way, they are forbidding. They suggest a divided mind.

Adella's candor, her innocence, her commitment to the truth of her imagination got me to thinking about adults and the masks we create. There are masks of tightly woven words that form suits of armor between the speaker and the rest of the world. There is the mask of the avatar, the image that says something about a person but does not reveal the person. There is the mask of kindness, of friendliness. There is the mask of sarcasm. There's always a way to keep others out.

Look me in the eye; no mask.


  1. Many of us could benefit from your words, as always. There are times I feel that I wear a mask to prevent people around me from seeing the pain, the frustration, the anger even though at any given time I can and do feel those. I guess that's one of the things I miss most about being able to live on my own. Another wise and wonderful post, Sandy! Thank you! Have a great weekend!


  2. Liked reading this, your words are so true.

  3. Kids know the truth far better than we do sometimes.

  4. masks.........they are so interesting...!

  5. How wonderful that you are able to look back on it and see what was really going on. I think all of us have found ourselves not really hearing what our kids are trying to tell us.

  6. Sometimes I think life has become a mask. A mask at work, a mask to pretend a status, a mask wrapped in self-righteousness. I think society sometimes asked us to put on the mask so that we fit in. A long time ago, I decided I didn't care about the mask. If that makes me a bit of a loner, then so be it. Though I can, and will be true to myself. I enjoyed your poem very much. It got me to thinking. Your prose reminded me of some of the lessons learned in raising two sons. Thought provoking for sure Sandy. Thanks friend.

  7. As we walk through life...we wear many masks I think. It is how we can move through this world. Some make it through unscathed because their masks are so well fashioned. I can see her point...she was real and in the moment. She needed no mask!

  8. True life in a poetic way - wonderful.

  9. Kids say the truest things. We would all be much better off if we refused to wear masks, but I'm afraid I do wear one entirely too often. Thanks for some wonderful food for thought.

  10. fascinating 1st husband certainly wore a mask for many years and didn't reveal who he was for years. it took time for me to realize he had no integrity as his lies were so convincing but he did major in!

  11. we all wear a mash for society of which now u r her shield but later ...???

  12. Sandy: Certainly an interesting prose on a true story. She certainly has taught you a lesson in life.

  13. We all will need the mask for the ash
    of oour ancestors
    be cheery!

  14. Hmmmmm....Deep.

    Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral

  15. loved the read Sandy very interesting I have noticed and often wondered if some people I knew personally wore a mask at times they didn't seem to be real or they seemed dishonest at times. I admit that I have wore a mask most of my life around my mother because I knew she didn't love me but i wanted her to and to this day I still want her to but now she has altzheimers and is forgetting peple the people who love her. When I travel to california I put on my mask and try to be happy around her but deep inside my heart i cry real and very painful tears.

    I Noticed you visited my blog just the other day and "This Blog Of Mine" was closed due to construction, But now it's back up I'd love for you to visit me. I love your blog and love to see that you are a believer of the almighty. I'm posted just follow the link provided below please.


  16. Old yeller

    Thanks for dropping by

  17. so good that this blogs does not just share the beauty of beautiful flowers and sights... but goes beyond sharing wisdom. thanks sandy!

  18. I can so relate to that.
    I tend to do the same to both my daughters too.
    Now I realized that we actually have rather different taste and way to expressing ourselves which makes us all very special in our own way.
    It is all about respect and accepting, which is easier said than done.
    Love your post.

  19. loved the conversationalist tone of poem. and i can picture the two of you hehe.

    loved the back story on this one, ah, precious moments

  20. Both your feelings gets across so strongly.

    rosy mask

  21. Excellent and true thoughts in this one. The mask is there in most of life in one way or another.

  22. My favorite thing about you is how you really try to wear other people's skin. That's so wonderful and rare. Every little girl needs a poet for a mom.

  23. Well said... Although a divided mind is sometimes what is needed to see more clearly

  24. This is a powerful poem. Your daughter certainly revealed something quite true. I love this line "Look me in the eye; no mask."
    Nicely written.

  25. Sandy, I love this! I don't know how old your daughter is now but I do hope she has at least dabbled in acting.
    She wanted to do the role playing very much according to your poem. :)

  26. Those masks are what make me leary of most people until I get to know them. I am always wondering what those masks would reveal if they were removed. Even the most beautiful masks can be the scariest to me.

  27. Sandy--
    Adella is a spiritual prodigy--
    thank you for this piece. Just so.

    And maybe, just maybe, there's a Brat Prodigy award for you!

  28. Anonymous2:27 AM

    It always amazes me how comfortable children are with the duality that is humanity.

    They know instinctively that it is not to be feared; sadly, our recoil often becomes the instrument of their understanding.

    Your ability to accept, to learn and to acknowledge her wisdom makes you a capable student and wonderful mom.

  29. Anonymous3:32 PM

    A wise daughter you have, Sandy.

  30. Wonderful memory, so well told here both in verse and prose. You point out great observations, your daughter is lucky to have you as a Mom!

  31. such a wonderful post, to become the witch, no pretending. I sense this is one of the things about costumes, they give us freedom to become something else. Sometimes masks make us lean toward that person to sense more deeply as to who they are. Thank you for sharing so freely in and about your poem.

  32. This is a memory which has made ripples in your writing. You both will remember it differently but I admire how you've documented it here. Thanks for the beauty in the poem and the story following. I bet you are a very proud Mama.

  33. A very insightful poem and post. The teacher became the student in this exchange!

  34. This post is so very well done Sandy- with the poem and the explanantion- There are so many kinds of masks and so very hard to get around them. I loved this!

  35. Sandy, this is lovey. I tiny moment is your memory that you can keep forever.


  36. I love how your daughter claimed her power, I really enjoyed this.

  37. What a beautiful story. There are so many facets to being human. Maybe that’s why we love Halloween – it allows us to try the exiled parts on without censure. Your daughter’s ability to embrace the witch personna without the politeness of a prop is simply astounding.


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