Masquerade

We hear the phrase “be yourself” all the time, and yet people walk around with more than one face–a public face and a real face. I know which one is the real face because it’s the one I always like better. In high school I would see a kid in the halls at school, see their social media profiles, see the way they acted at dances and in the lunchroom with their friends, and would brand them with my official punk sticker. Judgmental? Definitely, and I later learned that I should not have branded their mask before meeting the real person.

I would get to class, have a new seating arrangement, and be beside one of these decided punks. But they were smart. They led meaningful group discussions. They laughed and smiled and were easy to talk to. They were real. Then I saw them in the hall and they avoided my eyes, or made mean jokes to their friends, pushing forward the image they thought people wanted. It’s a masquerade.

 

Masquerade

 

I see the perfection painted with a delicate hand

Maybe if they didn’t like you, they’ll like your mask.

You hide because you don’t want to be found, but soon

You’ll forget where you put yourself.

It’s a masquerade.

 

First you wear the mask and then the mask wears you.

You smile, but it’s painted–

You speak, but it’s rehearsed, read from a script instead of a heart.

You walk on a map, sinking into footprints made by the ideal you

Back when you had a vision of the person you wanted to become.

You are a masquerade.

 

When you designed the mask

You doted the task

And no one asked

Who you really were.

The perfect personality is like a punishment

But it’s what you think the spectators want.

The real person is rattling bars of a cage

But no one can read between the lines so they just turn the page.

They don’t go deeper because your skin is made of steel.

Nothing remains that’s real.

People have forgotten that you even know how to feel.

You are trapped in the masquerade.

 

But when you’re all alone, and the spotlight is gone

The stage is clear, and empty auditorium seats sway

You tear off the mask, clipping off stitches of insecurity

But you still don’t throw it away.

For a moment authenticity is back

And the lights fade to black

And you breathe for the first time all day.

 

I see the reality painted with an unsteady hand

And I like the kid I see.

But you’re too afraid to let him stay

Tomorrow you’ll wear the mask again.

You can’t stop the masquerade.

***

I wrote that slam poem for an assignment once. I had to read it for my class (which was really scary) but chose that topic because I wanted it to sink in to the other people in the room. I needed it sometimes too.

We play roles, we have a ‘phone voice,’ we want to show the perfect side of our lives instead of the unimpressive, ordinary side.

I want to be the person I am with my family, with my closest friends, all the time. I’m tired of freezing up or turning into a shy person that I know I’m really not when I’m in social or public situations. I love to talk. A lot. I love to laugh. I get the incurable giggles at least once a day. But when I meet new people, or find myself among people that intimidate me, my mask comes on and I hide. My mask is shy, reserved, keeping my words to myself unless I can type them. My mask worries about what other people will think if I say what I really want to say, or if my heart will stop pounding enough that I can raise my hand and make my comment.

My mask isn’t the same as the masks of these kids I saw in high school, but what I didn’t realize then is that I still had my own. But my mask isn’t the face I wish I could be, it’s the face I wish I could overcome. Every mask is different.

Throw the mask away. Take a deep breath. I want to see the real face, and I want to learn to always show mine.

#stopthemasquerade 😉

<3

Ashtyn

 

 

Baby Story Series no. 1

You guys, this is going to be really fun! Periodically, I’ll be posting some of the stories that I wrote as a little kid, and I’m hoping I can get some other authors to find some of their childhood stories and participate. No guarantees, but at least I have a few golden ones for you.

*If you have funny/cute stories you wrote as a little kid, or if you have a kid that writes funny/cute stories, message me through my site! I would love to feature the stories in a blog post!*

To start, let me introduce you to the tiny me that wrote these stories.

I had a huge head, so I guess that’s why my imagination was huge too 😉

When I was about 5, I got my very own Princess notebook where I planned to write all my most secret diary secrets, probably about my kindergarten boyfriend that my friend and I shared. Please note that it says ‘No Peeking Pleas’ on the cover. That was probably for my brother.

This notebook must be full of wonderful, magical, romantic princess stories, right?

Looks like I changed my mind.

And now . . . I introduce to you . . .

 

This ^^^ reminds me of when Voldemort was on the back of Professor Quirrell’s head.

Not a fairy godmother, a magic pumpkin.

Please note the speech bubble – It’s meant to be a sound of relief, more commonly spelled phew. Just to clarify. . .

Again, if you have any funny little stories to share, please message me! I would love to feature them 🙂

Lies & Letters Blog Tour

Follow the blog tour to see what these bloggers think of the book!

“Lies & Letters” blog tour schedule:

Happy Friday

A few LIES & LETTERS teasers. Happy Friday!

THE TOWN

Craster, Northumberland. A haunting fishing town with a grey backdrop and castle ruins.

THE MAN

Please picture him (Colin O’ Donoghue, A.K.A. Captain Hook) when you read the book. You will thank me.

THE PIANOFORTE

Charlotte loves music. This photo reminded me of the imperfect, chipped pianoforte that she plays in the story.

And now. . . for your first excerpts. Yay! There will be more to come. 

***

Clara stopped trying to reach the book, but melted into tears. “Stop! Stop!” She wrapped her arms around herself and leaned over, hiding her face from me.

I pulled out and crumpled another fistful of the pages. “You will thank me,” I said. When I finished, I dropped the binding to the dirt and laughed.

“How can you be so awful?” She spit the words at me and tears fell slowly down her cheeks. “I hope you fall in love someday, Charlotte. And I hope he breaks your heart.”

I shook my head with my hands on my hips. “Impossible.”

She stooped over the bench, gathering up the remaining pages and organizing them in a neat stack. Amid her movements, she glanced up at me, eyes like stone. “You’re right. I don’t believe you even have a heart.”

I kicked the crumpled pages away from her reach before turning to leave. Before I moved, I said, in a voice just as hard, “That is because a woman is much better off without one.”

***

***

It began with a slight pout of my lips. Then I leaned in close. “Is there truly no other option? We are so very afraid and alone.” I batted my eyelashes and smiled through them.

Instead of acting flustered, bending to my requests, Mr. Wortham surprised me. He stepped even closer to me. His closeness afforded me with a new view of his eyes. They were not only blue—they were streaked with green and edged in grey. “Aye, miss, but I would very much like to see you sporting a pair of fish-strewn breeches.” A wink followed the words. Heavens, the man could flirt with the best of us.

I warned him with a look, accepting that my ploy was ineffective. I wanted to stomp my foot and demand my way, but I suspected this James Wortham would find amusement in such an act. “You will never have the privilege.”

***

Less than 3 months! I’m so excited.