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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.

"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.

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

— Dee Waldeck

© 2021 Janis Leslie Evans


Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on August 01, 2021:

Brenda, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I appreciate your analysis. It was a pleasure to participate in the shadow word prompt. Thank you so much for the lovely comments and for posting a link. Grateful.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on July 31, 2021:


I love your quote by Oli Anderson.

In your poem, "Masks of Shadows: A Poem" you tell us that we hide behind the shadows we create from lies and half truths.

We eventually lose sight of our true self as we control who & what we let inside.

We start feeling safer behind the scenes not risking rejection from anyone.

A part of us wants to come out and not remain hidden, but we are too scared to unveal the mask.

We stay in the shadow.

You did a wonderful job looking at this from a different angle.

I admire your goal:

"The goal for me is to increase opportunities to embrace positive distractions that will promote balance and healing in my life.

~ Janis Leslie Evans

Then you end your article with another fine quote.

People do hide behind masks, either to hide actions they are not proud of or to hide pain & hurt deep inside.

When we embrace both the light & darkness our soul will shine.

Your prospective about the masks and this coronavirus is spot on.

We do tend to look at eavmch other differently based on our beliefs and we definitely need to open up our hearts and accept one another.

No matter what.

Great write.

I will post a link in the word prompt article.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on July 31, 2021:

Hi Lora,

I really appreciate your comments. You’re very observant, seeing what I was going for in this poem. I’m pleased that you liked it. Thank you for your visit.

Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on July 31, 2021:

John, I’m always happy to see you and receive your comment on my poetry. I’m so glad you liked it. Thank you for taking the time.

Lora Hollings on July 31, 2021:

You did a wonderful job with this prompt, Janis. I really liked your take on the word, "Shadows." I think many of us do hide behind a facade or a mask as you call it, not wanting to or afraid to reveal our true selves. Not only do the masks hide the good but they can also hide the bad within ourselves. Then there's also the question that is raised by your poem, do others encourage us to hide behind a mask because they feel more comfortable with our true feelings remaining hidden. Thanks for sharing your insightful poem.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on July 31, 2021:

I always love it when you write piece of poetry, Janis, so I am glad that Brenda’s word prompt inspired you. I loved your take on “shadows” and, yes, it is particularly relevant in the current situation.

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