Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Confessions of an Ill-Fitting Mask

Posted in Belletristica, Erotica, Interna by Suzanne on October 13th, 2011 | BBC Wikipedia

Sometimes I write notes on Facebook - of all places - and sometimes they get really long so I thought I might post this one here as well because there's a certain lack of personal articles here. Thanks to Nana for reminding me about the book and to Rob for letting me (accidentally) rip apart his copy.

I knew I'd fall in love with Yukio Mishima's Confessions of a Mask and it's probably one of the main reasons I hadn't read it before. I wanted to read it at the right time and place where a hard look at my own childhood would be undisturbed.

I could always identify with male book characters way easier than female heroines and the only female characters I could ever fully immerse myself in were the doomed and downright pathetic ones like Madame Bovary - the ones "strong" only in their subconscious determination to really fuck things up big time.

So while I always understood stories better from a male perspective, this is the absolute first time I can also physically identify with a male character because my childhood body, my "bad habit" as Mishima calls it, awoke in a similar way - albeit a lot earlier. So early, I had to completely stop talking about it because if there's something curious about human nature, it's how we completely deny and repress the fact that we're extremely horny little animals from a very early age.

So whenever someone embraces that fact - be it in art or literature - and explains and yes, in Mishima's case you could say, exploits it passionately and vividly, I'm all ears.

It means writing against the forces who find honest looks at our early lives "disgusting", "perverted" and "misguided" when it's really just that: Brutal honesty and the willingness to remember and chronicle PRECISELY.

It's probably one of the most exhausting mental acts to bring back those memories - and in many cases, they've obviously been repressed for a reason and should maybe even stay that way forever.

In my case, however, the only reason they've been tippexed is because if there was one constant in my early childhood, it was the feeling of doing something wrong, something bad... essentially of BEING wrong, of BEING bad. I don't even know where that feeling came from as it didn't come from my parents so I have to blame generations of genetic devout Roman Catholicism for it.

Anyways, I don't really want to write about how, in a way, we're all born "perverts" but more about how we're all born guilty, all born sad.

The main reason apart from the very obvious ecological ones why I never want to put a life into this world is because I firmly believe that we are born with all the sorrow, all the weariness, all the longing, all the guilt, the Weltschmerz, the incessant coming of death (I don't believe for a second that children don't "get" the concept of death because they're so very close to it, so very mortal, so utterly incapabale of survival) but, perhaps most importantly and painfully, the full realisation that we'll never understand anything.

Babies look like old men, like used star dust thrown back together to form something really useless and compared to other animals, frankly quite ugly in shape.

One of my first childhood memories is, very similar to Mishima's actually, how some old lady bent down to take a good hard look at me when I was out with grandma and said - addressing me in the third person as if I didn't have ears.. or indeed, wasn't present: "She looks like she's carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, that little thing. Does she ever smile?"

Now, what society taught me was to put a smile on my face when people ask such questions because I would get lollipops, kisses, friends... yes, money. Instead, I hid behind my grandma's giant leg and started sobbing. I felt like I had let my guard down and that for a second, that woman saw right into me. So much so that it physically hurt.

Don't all children carry the weight of the world on their shoulders though? We are born crying and from the moment we can speak we ask the one essential question over and over and over again: Why. Why. Why.

If you're one of the lucky few, like I was, we get born to patient, imaginative parents who - often not knowing the answer to our whys themselves - just invent something glorious, something pompous, a lie so utterly megalomaniac it stills the thirst for a while, lets the mind go on an exotic journey full of colours and flavours.

I always knew it when I was being fed a make-believe, but then just like now, if the lie was pretentious and ridiculous enough, I would go along with it like a Sturm & Drang hero if it would make my brain stop aching and rotating and take it to some place else, some place far away, some place arcadian.

We are born curious escapists yet we are taught to get a firm cynical grip on reality (whatever that might be).

We are born sad wisemen and -woman yet we are taught to grow a smiling face around our masks and not ask too many questions.

I refuse. This mask and my face, they'll never fuse and when I die, I will take it off and lay it down beside me.

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6 comments to " Confessions of an Ill-Fitting Mask "

  1. Gravatar

    Amy says:

    Yes.

    October 13th, 2011 at 3:01 pm

  2. Gravatar

    AkaTako says:

    Amen.
    I've never heard (read) someone put the garbled ideas I have about life so succinctly.

    October 14th, 2011 at 2:19 am

  3. Gravatar

    Maika says:

    This was beautifully written and cathartic to read. Thank you Suzanne.

    October 15th, 2011 at 5:41 am

  4. Gravatar

    Suzanne says:

    THANKZ GUYZ! (Sorry, I'm on dial-up... it's difficult to write long, sense-making replies but I'm glad you ladies agree. You are three fine young ladies - if I may say so.)

    October 17th, 2011 at 11:49 pm

  5. Gravatar

    AkaTako says:

    ;) awww shucks.. Thanks!

    October 19th, 2011 at 11:00 pm

  6. Gravatar

    Suzanne Gerber – Giving Taste A Bad Name Since Kindergarten» Blog Archive » 20 Most Popular Posts on Wurzeltod in 2011 says:

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