The mask is blank

My mask is blank, and you ask why.
Wait a moment, and I will reply.

Keinnayi’s dictionary defines the popular meaning of culture as:

…the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group: Caribbean culture | people from many different cultures

Ordinarily, a person looks at me and sees an Indian. Perhaps with some insight, they can narrow it somewhat to West Indian. A little deeper, and they can still hear echoes of Trinidad & Tobago permeating through me. But they are merely that, echoes of a past that I left behind.

I’m aware of my roots. You may argue, doesn’t the apple fall not far from the tree? What if I countered with, what of the travelling seed? The ones carried upon the wind, the waters, by birds, by animals, by humanity? Observations of species differentiation are well noted.

From before my birth, my family, their religious views, their identity, their culture … already cast me into their shadows.

I’m no tabula rasa. I could never wipe my slate clean.

I look in the mirror and immediately turn my face. I can’t stand my own reflection. I cringe at photographs of me, but I try to appreciate the need of those who wish to preserve a memory.

“Hey,” I asked my boyfriend one night, “why do you have a blank mask on your bookshelf?”

“I like mask work. It’s one of my favourites.

I asked for the mask, lifted it to his face, then cradled it in my arms as I stared at it. “Personae.”

He takes it back from me. After our viewing of ‘Blue Bird’ and us talking with Brad Cook, he said, “What if you present a blank mask to your class?”

I fretted. “It’s a self-exploration activity of culture and identity. I’m to write a paper after. I can’t just stand there with nothing on my mask!”

“Why not?” I’m about to argue, but then I understood his reasoning, and more importantly, how he arrived at that question.

“Heh,” I chuckle as we leave The Registry, a performing arts theatre in Kitchener. “A blank mask isn’t so blank after all.”

White left so much to the imagination.

+Forever’s Interval (p. 135).

Tejai, K. (2014). Forever’s interval. USA: America Star Books, LLLP.