Wednesday, December 5, 2012
One of the themes of The Garden is forgiveness - in fact there's an entire cave I stumbled across on my first time around the sim named forgiveness and filled with masks of many types. There are a few items I've always loved and collected - and one of them is masks. In fact, I have an entire "mask wall" as I call it, covered with masks I've bought, masks I've been given, and masks I've made. The prize and pride o that wall is a mask I made based on a casting of my face - something I'll admit I've wanted to do since but not put the time into it. For many, many years, I went every summers beginning to the Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology, starting when I was seventeen. That is a big young to express interest in Jungian psychology, but my interest was actually much older, sparked by Joseph Campbell and expanded through the years at the Conference. In the mask year, one thing which struck me in the past and still stands out to me is how different my approach to my mask was to the others who made theirs at the same time.
Mine was certainly the darkest and most dramatic - in order to get a black as dark as I wanted, I used the underside of a scarlet and black fabric; paint simply didn't create the smooth richness I wanted for the surface o the mask. Diagonally across the face is a thick band of bangles, and running out from under that is a long veil of iridescent green and black fabric. The mask is topped by feathers, two black and one peacock, and in the middle of the forehead is a gold circle which reflects the light like a mirror. I can't put into words what the mask means to me, how strongly I relate to it's elegant drama, but the fact that it was unique in our group in both darkness and drama remains vivid in my minds eye. It wasn't until I looked at the others' masks, a day in, that I realized how divergent our approaches were, and how much my mask seemed like play while there's were serious, inward-turning reflection. In hindsight, though, I wonder if what I had instead was just different from them - if my drama is levels deep rather than the surface level we often assume drama to be.
Forgiveness is full of masks: dramatic ones, feline ones, grumpy ones, partial ones, pale ones and dark ones. Center point is a woman holding a bowl, and on the bowl is a book full of words that, well... don't entirely seem to fit, though I read them through carefully. Its all left me thinking about forgiveness and how it plays a role in the game there, though. As a prize for each game successfully played, you can forgive each o the figures of their sin - whatever those sins might be. Oddly, although I adore forgiving their sins, I'm neither a fan of forgiveness, or sins; the former I think is over-emphasized and used to make people feel guilty for protecting themselves from others with more social influence, and the latter I think are used to judge others while giving the self a pass. I like the idea of removing punishments, though - not giving, removing.
A lot of my job is with people with mental illnesses - people who struggle with things most of us take for granted, like recognizing a coherent shared reality, or managing basic tasks individually. Often, their difficulties have led to punishments; not ones meted out from on high, but ones born of ignorance, confusion, or self-hatred. The part of my job I love best is when I can discover one of these punishments feeding on the soul of one of my clients and kill it, or help my client to kill it; there is such joy in a moment of success, in watching a growing ability to navigate in the world both ablely and without evoking suffering in others. The first time one of my clients was able to communicate to me that he was getting tired and needed more help using words instead of beginning to accuse me of delusional things was a day I smiled for several hours straight.
On the other hand, sometimes I have to enforce boundaries and consequences. For example, I have one individual who I will not drive to the store unless that individual has bathed and put on clean clothing, and this often results in me being called a "fucking bitch"; my consequences, as it were. Another I often have to push myself in, convincing this person to do things in my presence which are difficult, even frightening, in the hopes of fending off the consequence of homelessness. I don't know if any of these more difficult situations will ever resolve to my satisfaction; sometimes it seems hopeless and I feel both helpless and evil. I'm not always sure I make the right choices, or even if there are right choices to make depending on the situation. I suppose that is the struggle for myself, a struggle which seems deeper than any forgiveness can ever reach; I have to live with what I do, it is true, but so do those whom I serve.
( More pictures here. )
Skin: De la Soul, Aestali - Cream Rose
Eyes: De La Soul, RooMee Eyes - Rainbow
Eyelashes 1: SLink, Eyelashes
Eyelashes 2: Flugeln Brise, 05-A
Eyeshadow: Elymode, Coal & Green
Ears: Illusions, Seelie Ears
Lipstick 1: L. Fauna, Neutral Red
Lipstick 2: Mock, Mizu LipGloss - Russian Red
Hair: Analog Dog, Ging
Coronet: Wishbox, Red Rose Crown
Wings: Fancy Fairy, Azarelle
Jewelry: Earthstones, Bullseye Set - Gold/Emerald
Hands: SLink, Mesh Hands
Dress: Evergreen, Velvet One-Piece Red
Shoes: Lassitude & Ennui, Skully Pumps
Poses: aDORKable Poses
Location: The Garden
Light Settings: Places, Beach Cay
Water Settings: Mirror Water
Photographed by Deoridhe Quandry
Post processing: Cropping, only