So this is my last minute entry into the monthly blog hop over at Denise Covey's place. I'm just gonna improvise as I go along…
The prompt is – What's in a face?
What comes to your mind – a ghost story? a treatise on the scientific dimensions of the face? a poignant poem? a photo that captures the face? artwork? Whatever strikes you as inspiration, go for it!
February 14 is Valentine's Day. You are welcome to incorporate this romantic day, but it is not mandatory! Just remember to keep your flash fiction or non-fiction to approx. 1,000 words.
WHAT TO DO TO PARTICIPATE?
SIGN UP – NOW, or by direct link when you post on your blog. Be sure to add 'WEP' to your post title, so people know at a glance that this is your entry for the challenge.
LEAVE A MESSAGE on the WEP blog, so people know your entry is up.
PLEASE turn off Word Verification if you want comments!
VISIT other participants if possible, leaving a comment/feedback.
CONTACT ME IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS – firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT'S IN A FACE?
At the beginning of this year, I was offered a part-time job teaching English at a school which is just up the road. The offer was good. I couldn’t resist. But of course it means that my entire schedule has been upset. I have to re-arrange my life (to a certain degree… not too bad…)
The start of a new year.
Face to face with eighteen Grade 8 learners.
(At this point, the words "tabula rasa" always come to me… imagine each learner has a mind that resembles a blank slate… just waiting for something to be inscribed on it…)
I’ve only known them for two weeks now. That’s only about 10 school days. But I’ve gotten to know some a bit better than others… there are always those who stand out for different reasons…
Lumko, who struggles to keep a straight face and focus on his work, always mumbling about something or the other when he can’t get his own way, and who loves the victim role, refusing to face the music when he is caught in the act…
J.J with mischief written all over his face, he is one step ahead and will wipe every trace of evidence off the face of the earth… boisterous and energetic… if given half the chance, he will talk until he’s blue in the face…
Samkelisiwe will cut off her nose to spite her face…
Toni who has earned the title of being two-faced… nice to you one day and horrid the next day…
Anele has fallen victim to the humidity, fast asleep at his desk and wouldn’t know the answer if it hit him in the face…
Thando who is painfully shy yet eager to learn, who puts on a brave face to the world, and is too trusting, she takes everything at face value…
Elizabeth, quiet and unassuming, who goes red in the face whenever she is asked a question…
Bheki whose mouth never has a rest, everytime you look at him, he is feeding his face…
These are just some of the "faces" of my grade 8 bunch. Do these diffferent “faces” define the learners? Isn’t this merely my perception/interpretation? How accurate is it?
I came across this poem which I thought fitted in with the WEP theme: What's In A Face as well as The Ubuntu Bloghop which starts today.
Please Hear What I'm Not Saying
Don't be fooled by me.
Don't be fooled by the face I wear
For I wear a mask, a thousand masks,
Masks that I'm afraid to take off
And none of them is me.
Pretending is an art that's second nature with me,
but don't be fooled,
for God's sake don't be fooled.
I give you the impression that I'm secure,
that all is sunny and unruffled with me,
within as well as without,
that confidence is my name and coolness my game,
that the water's calm and I'm in command
and that I need no one,
but don't believe me.
My surface may be smooth but
my surface is my mask,
ever-varying and ever-concealing.
Beneath lies no complacence.
Beneath lies confusion, and fear, and aloneness.
But I hide this. I don't want anybody to know it.
I panic at the thought of my weakness exposed.
That's why I frantically create a mask to hide behind,
a nonchalant sophisticated facade,
to help me pretend,
to shield me from the glance that knows.
But such a glance is precisely my salvation,
my only hope, and I know it.
That is, if it is followed by acceptance,
If it is followed by love.
It's the only thing that can liberate me from myself
from my own self-built prison walls
from the barriers that I so painstakingly erect.
It's the only thing that will assure me
of what I can't assure myself,
that I'm really worth something.
But I don't tell you this. I don't dare to. I'm afraid to.
I'm afraid you'll think less of me,
that you'll laugh, and your laugh would kill me.
I'm afraid that deep-down I'm nothing
and that you will see this and reject me.
So I play my game, my desperate, pretending game
With a façade of assurance without
And a trembling child within.
So begins the glittering but empty parade of Masks,
And my life becomes a front.
I tell you everything that's really nothing,
and nothing of what's everything,
of what's crying within me.
So when I'm going through my routine
do not be fooled by what I'm saying.
Please listen carefully and try to hear what I'm not saying,
what I'd like to be able to say,
what for survival I need to say,
but what I can't say.
I don't like hiding.
I don't like playing superficial phony games.
I want to stop playing them.
I want to be genuine and spontaneous and me
but you've got to help me.
You've got to hold out your hand
even when that's the last thing I seem to want.
Only you can wipe away from my eyes
the blank stare of the breathing dead.
Only you can call me into aliveness.
Each time you're kind, and gentle, and encouraging,
each time you try to understand because you really care,
my heart begins to grow wings —
very small wings,
With your power to touch me into feeling
you can breathe life into me.
I want you to know that.
I want you to know how important you are to me,
how you can be a creator–an honest-to-God creator —
of the person that is me
if you choose to.
You alone can break down the wall behind which I tremble,
you alone can remove my mask,
you alone can release me from the shadow-world of panic,
from my lonely prison,
if you choose to.
Please choose to.
Do not pass me by.
It will not be easy for you.
A long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls.
The nearer you approach me
the blinder I may strike back.
It's irrational, but despite what the books may say about man
often I am irrational.
I fight against the very thing I cry out for.
But I am told that love is stronger than strong walls
and in this lies my hope.
Please try to beat down those walls
with firm hands but with gentle hands
for a child is very sensitive.
Who am I, you may wonder?
I am someone you know very well.
For I am every man you meet
and I am every woman you meet.
I am you.
By Charles C. Finn
To enjoy more of Charles’s poems, visit www.poetrybycharlescfinn.com
This person appears to be struggling with some deep, unnamed, anxiety or insecurities. He/she puts on masks, and plays the game with cool confidence, while in reality he/she is hurting inside, and desperately yearning for real human contact.
We all do it, hide parts of who we are. To do that, we put on an act that we believe shows us as a better person than we really are.
Why do we go to these lengths? The reasons are many, but the greatest reason is that we are afraid we are not good enough to be accepted for who we are.
Even when we admit that we are all guilty of wearing masks, we have a hard time removing them and trusting that we are OK.
Many of us can relate to the idea that we would really like to be fully transparent, clearly living out who we are. But that means removing the masks, which is very difficult. It means being prepared to "put yourself out there…" and embracing vulnerability. Very difficult. Vulnerability gives you a sense of freedom. I read an article on why it’s good to be vulnerable. It's food for thought…
Please go here to read the article: Tiny Buddha's article On Being Vulnerable.
There are thousands of people out there, hiding behind their maks… yet each one has the same basic need… the need to belong… to be part of something… for acceptance… acknowledgement… human connection… just to know that someone cares…
We tend to judge people by what we see, especially if we don't know them well. But you'll never know what challenges/hardships the next person has to endure… never know the hand that has been dealt to him… the cross he has to carry… the curve balls thrown his way… never know his deepest hurt, deepest fear, deepest happiness…
So you still have time to participate in the bloghop which runs from today until Friday 21st February. Want more information? Go HERE
AND NOW I'M OFFF TO READ SOME OF THE ENTRIES. I WILL GET AROUND TO YOUR BLOG OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS!!