Thursday, July 22

elements of self... the mask

yikes, i've been away for a week. in-laws are still here, it's scorching hot, our neighbour from the previous post passed away and we had the funeral yesterday. it was a great turn out. he'll be missed by us.

so i'm a little late on this one...
juliana at shakti mama is hosting a self-portrait challenge which has several of us taking deep breaths but having fun too.

my physical mask is my hair..... a useful mask and a not so great one.

i like to melt into the shadows and my hair serves as a cloak. but it's also my i-know-i'm-not-much-to-look at and i-have-bad-skin mask. it isn't self-loathing, i've never been that way. more of a matter-of-fact realism. i don't use it so much in that way any more, but i would never pin my hair all the way. besides it's bloody uncomfortable to me, i feel very exposed, and feel that my not-so-great-face is too exposed.

the perfect porcelian blemish-free skin is part of our social pressures of beauty as much as a perfect anything else.

i have come a long way. i embrace my wrinkles at least. completely. each has it's own story. and it's not even so much hating my skin but hating that someone else can't hear me past staring at a huge pimple on my head or something. you know?

but my hair mask is part of who i am, part of my heritage, the women in the family.... i'm okay with it, because i've learnt to love myself.


  1. yeessssssss......i had a friend in high school who had this gorgeous curtain of hair that she was always pulling across her face to hide behind.

    feeling you on the skin thing -- my issue was my freckles..all five-billion of them -- and wishing for that porcelain, freckle-free complexion....i pretty much love my wrinkles now too...;)

    *sigh* such gorgeous hair....and a beautiful smile!! and a very definite impish gleam in that one eye i can see....


    aren't we fabulously brave? :)

  2. Great pic! I also have a mound of hair I like to hide behind.

  3. You look beautiful!
    I have naturally thick wavy hair and I have often used it as a mask. I have this need to push my own boundaries at times so I have been wearing it up mostly for a while now.
    Make up was a big thing for me too, it became like a mask of protection. Since I've been bare faced and au natural I haven't had a photo taken yet!!!
    This might be the prompt I needed.
    Maybe I'll have a go at this sometime this week :)

  4. I hide too, family photos are often taken by me or I am not visible....

  5. are radiant in this or no hair..pimple or porcelian...your beauty is emanating from within...i l♥ve your thoughtful wisdom shared...warm wishes and brightest blessings~

  6. Ah...the skin. At 50 plus you would think I would out grow pimples but I am still plagued by them. Luckily I seem to be afflicted one side of my face at a time so I hide behind my good profile for pictures...and there's always Photo Shop...just another mask.

  7. Beautiful! There is power in that hair.

    For me, my hair has actually always been part of my own self-image issue. It is very thin, limp and doesn't grow past my shoulders without splitting. The things I did to it when I was younger to try and get it to do something (perms, color, treatments, hairspray, gel, etc.).

    Sorry for your neighbor, hope it was peaceful.

  8. I agree with faerwillow ... you GLOW in this photograph, your skin, your hair, your eyes. I love the smile, too. So happy and mysterious ... I wouldn't have thought these two adjectives could go so well together in a photograph, but they most definitely do here.

    I love that you're lying on your back with your hair fanned out. I had long hair before giving birth, then I chopped it all off. *Sigh*. I'm growing it out now. I used to hide behind my hair too. My curls are similar to yours ... perhaps a little curlier.

    Thanks for participating. I so look forward to seeing your eyes more closely in the next challenge!

  9. see, I didn't know this about you.

    the photo is absolutely amazing, and you are beautiful, but the thing that gets me the most about it is the youth, the innocence, I see in it.

  10. I've never had great hair, so that's one thing I've never hid behind. I love this photo, it's kind of whimsical. Definitely a side of you I don't normally see in the photos you share.

    I'm going to participate in this, I even have the post ready...just need a photo...

  11. This is a beautiful photo, Mon. You have amazing hair.
    I too have the bad skin problem, and often wish I could hide my face. I certainly feel more uncomfortable with my hair up (mine's quite thick and long, like yours). But I just can't shake the feeling that at 35 I'm supposed to be smooth-skinned and well-groomed, whereas most days I don't feel any different to how I did at 16!

  12. Gorgeous picture.

    I can relate to hair as a a weird way.
    When I was in my first year at college I decided to cut all my hair off; put my fingers flat to my head and cut anything that hung over. It was practically a buzz cut. I realized how much I had used my hair as a mask - but no more. It was refreshing to be "out" and vulnerable in that way...but terrifying too. It's been short ever since. I'm going to look into this challenge - it would definitely be that for me. I truly dislike me in photos.

  13. You look so beautiful! Looks like you had a lot of fun doing this too. And goood eyebrows Mon. You may have noticed i don't have any eyebrows (well I do but they're blonde) so that has been my thing with my feeling of lack about my face because apparently eyebrows are a big deal in framing the face and i don't look like I have any! But yours are great.

  14. Oh I can barely resist the urge to lift your hair and peek. You are a beautiful woman. If there is anything you can learn from such a post it should be that we should not be defined by what we see in the mirror. Unles of course your mirror looks like mine (no I swear I am not being concieted!) I too took the challenge on my blog and instead of changing myself I just changed the mirror. Makes my life a bit better each day! and no I didn't take it down or turn it over or some counter productive thing!

    it's at:
    look for: i'm getting real...squeemish beware


  15. you are gorgeous!! even if it's not always physically, i know that people look at my curls first and i still *hide* behind them.

    so glad you are playing, too! i need to work on mask....

  16. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of meeting Mon in real life, her hair as well as her face are beautiful. The hair...oh that hair. It's soft, silky, natural, curly...gorgeous hair. As a bleach blond, I am jealous! Love the photo captures you. I too have my hair as a mask though I can't remember the last time I wore it down. It's always pulled back and piled high so I'm often left wondering how come I just don't chop it all off. But I won't. Cuz I don't know what I'd do without it. It's an extension of me, for now.

  17. I think your point about heritage is right on. in doing this project I have come to understand much more about my own "heritage of women" I not only see them in my face, I have learned their insecurities. The more I try to process for this project, the more i understand not just the beauty of my feminine heritage, but the baggage that i have inherited-- and it's a long line of feminine insecurity.

  18. Such gorgeous hair!!

    Glad to see you're loving yourself. You have every reason to. Simply beautiful! :D
    (thanks for stopping by and leaving a note)

  19. I have this thing about cutting off all my hair after growing it really long - and I'm regreting it this time around. I will tell you one thing though - I think people rarely notice other peoples bad skin. When mine gets bad I ask friends about it because I assume they see nothing but the acne and they are always so surprised when I point it out. Of course to us we see NOTHING else when we look in the mirror.

    Your hair is indeed stunning!

  20. Love this. You should frame it. I don't hide behind my hair, but I use it as a crutch sometimes. :)

  21. that is a great shot. you have great hair! i would hide behind my hair too if i had hair like yours.

  22. Sorry to hear about your neighbour!

    I absolutely love that picture of you Mon, it's gorgeous, and so are you, inside and out!

  23. My goodness, I love that photo of you!

    Something so mischievous and whole about it, even with part of you obscured.

    Love it!! :)

    I'm playing along, too.


  24. very pretty! my hair used to be quite long, and I too used it as a mask. now, i usually cant stand it to be in my face, and it is always pulled back...

    visiting from shaktimama....

  25. Such a beautiful picture Mon - you look like a mermaid underwater, or as though the wind is dancing with you - teasing you. I love the energy you have here!

  26. I love this photo. You look fantastic!
    I'm turning 30 very soon and I'm looking at my face and body differently but I'm just trying to embrace me just as I am. (with a bit of that anti-wrinkle creme ;)


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