Forgive the little pun above; I couldn’t resist!
I’ve been thinking lately in a very unfocussed way about the persona, that mask we wear. I don’t fully understand the “proper” concept, of the Persona, or the ramifications in Jungian psychology, so those of you who do, please bear with me and accept this as my ramblings to get to grips with my own understanding of who I am beneath the mask.
The title is also untrue; the persona is not just welcome, it’s essential. It’s about how we function as individuals in society, by concealing our full selves. Usually people are unaware that the self the world sees is not their true self, but I’ve become acutely and uncomfortably aware that what the world sees is a much nicer being that the real me underneath.
I don’t consciously choose to project anything. But the words that others use in describing me have begun to disturb me somewhat. I don’t find I am happy to have people think of me as, “tough” or “strong” or “sweet”, and I really don’t know why. My husband tells me I project an image of someone who can cope with anything life throws at me, and be unfazed entirely by it. I suspect this one bothers me the most because it is not true. I can’t cope with a lot of things. Oh I deal with it, sure, but then, when no one is watching, I go home and crumble into a million pieces. I absorb the blows but I don’t heal from them.
I’ve begun to really wonder who this “I” is that is writing here.
Other people hold a mirror up to us, but it’s like the mirrors that you have at funfairs, that distort reality. And even a true mirror everything is transposed to the other way round.
The most terrifying maze I have ever been in was a mirror maze, at Wookey Hole in Somerset. Every way I turned I was faced with an image of myself coming the other way; the only way to escape the maze was to head for a space that didn’t contain a self-image. I emerged, not far short of a panic attack, gasping for air and reality.
I’m beginning to fear that the way to true self understanding is to head for the gaps where no self-image appears and find myself outside the maze, lying in the sun on the warm grass.