The Unmasking

The Unmasking

Mixed media: Original artwork was created using alcohol inks and layers of acrylics on Yupo paper.

I am a late-identified neurodivergent adult and have spent most of my life not quite understanding "what was wrong with me" while carrying an internal feeling of "pretending to be someone that I'm not"... always afraid that I'd be discovered. It's only in recent years that I've realised that I was unconsciously masking.

I painted this in a frenzy, while reflecting on what it means to show up unapologetically as our true authentic selves.

It is sometimes said that the four greatest and most influential Portuguese literary figures of modern times are Fernando Pessoa. Pessoa, whose name means ‘person’ in Portuguese, had three alter egos. He actually wrote under many names, but several of them were ‘heteronyms’ rather than pseudonyms. Not only were their writing styles completely different; they had entirely different world views, different aesthetic sensibilities.

I wanted to share a poem by Ricardo Reis, a heteronym of Fernando Pessoa.

Para ser grande, sê inteiro / To be great, be whole:
Para ser grande, sê inteiro: nada
Teu exagera ou exclui.
Sê todo em cada coisa. Põe quanto és
No mínimo que fazes.
Assim em cada lago a lua toda
Brilha, porque alta vive.

To be great, be whole: nothing
Of yourself exaggerate or exclude.
Be all in all things. Put what you are
Into the least you do.
So, in every lake the whole moon
Shines and, soaring, lives.

This poem speaks to me about the importance of unmasking and of being our authentic selves - not more or less - and perhaps showing up with an acceptance for where we’re at in that given moment.

- Kristy 

Original mixed media art by Kristy Tidey. Acrylic figure of a woman holding two masks with her arms stretched out. Background is a mix of black and gold alcohol inks.
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