Skip to main content

The Mask We Wear Casts a Shadow

A creative writer at heart, Janis was first published at age 11. Most of her poems express core issues of love, loss, trauma, and healing.

“Your Shadow is all of the things, 'positive' and 'negative', that you’ve denied about yourself and hidden beneath the surface of the mask you forgot that you’re wearing.”

— Oli Anderson, Shadow Life: Freedom from Bullshit in an Unreal World

The Shadows We Cast

Shadows cover parts of us we want to hide.

Shadows cover parts of us we want to hide.

Masks of Shadows: A Poem


We hide behind our veils

Protected from eyes with closed minds

Meanings distorted by merged hues

Blurred by a false sense of self

Shadows created by lies and half-truths


Covered by perfunctory gestures

Accepting that which is familiar

We lose sight of who we are

Shielded by intentional denial

We fiend ignorance


Like heavy venetian blinds

Offering little to no transparency

Letting in the desired amount of light

Controlling who we allow inside

While dimming our own shine


Feeling safer behind the scenes

Afraid of who we weren't meant to be

We pass each other in shadow form

Avoiding the true reveal

With no risk of rejection


Slight glimpses of us trail away

Drifting into the ethers of escape

Crying out to be hidden no more

Hesitant to shed our masks

We remain our shadow selves


JLE 2021

We Often Present Our Shadow Selves

The self-induced shadow protects us from revealing our true selves.

The self-induced shadow protects us from revealing our true selves.

“The true essence of the soul is revealing when we embrace the light and shadows within ourselves.”

— Dee Waldeck

"Shadow" Word Prompt Challenge

Much gratitude is extended to HubPages author and prolific poet, Brenda Arledge for presenting our writing community with weekly word prompts to challenge us and stimulate our creativity. The word for week 22 was "shadow." I joined in the fun to create the poem "Masks of Shadows" which speaks to our tendency to mask ourselves behind shadows, covering aspects of our true selves. These self-induced shadows protect us from attacks, hide our flaws and insecurities, while simultaneously limiting our potential.

I attempted to see the word "shadow" from another angle rather than the familiar projection of a mass created by back light, onto another object. In my poem, shadows project inward, darkening those parts of us we want to hide. After writing the poem, I discovered that the interesting play on words mirrors what we are experiencing currently as our country grapples with wearing masks for protection versus not wearing masks, and how the divide impacts the way we perceive and interact with each other.

Let's hope that in spite of the struggles we face individually or as a country, we will find time to step way from it long enough to engage in introspection and creative activities as Brenda Arledge encourages us to do. The goal for me is to increase opportunities to embrace positive distractions that will promote balance and healing in my life. Writing poetry does that for me. Thank you again, Brenda, for the writing challenge which prompted me to take a moment to divert my energies in a creative way.

© 2021 Janis Leslie Evans

Related Articles