The Masks We Wear

I lay on the table; my eyes closed as I awaited the diagnosis. Ginna methodically explored every inch of the skin on my face under her magnifying glass. She clicked her tongue and simply stated, “You’ve been hormonal and under stress this month.” Darn. Can’t hide anything from this woman! Try as I may to maintain an attractive (albeit cosmetically enhanced), clear, calm, collected, and in control face to the outside world daily, my external façade is no match for a professional esthetician.

For the last twelve years, Ginna has helped care for the face that my world and I see every day. She decides which treatment or course of action will hide or repair the discord that naturally occurs between what gets under my skin (literally or figuratively) and what goes on in the external environment I live, work, and play in. But, Ginna is way more than a woman who gives me a monthly facial. She is a confidante, therapist, trusted advisor, and wise friend who has amassed a wealth of knowledge about people, their choices, and life’s lessons from tending to their faces.

Ginna knows me well…inside and out. While the casual observer can rarely tell what’s going on with someone, Ginna can see it all on his or her face.

*  *  *

I arrived in Israel this afternoon amidst preparations for the national celebration of Purim that will take place on Sunday.

Although it is common practice to read the Book of Esther in a synagogue, the holiday is not a religious observance per se.  Instead, the Jewish community is expected to feast merrily and to spread joy through gifts to family, friends, and the poor. It also is about appreciating one’s accomplishments and successes (i.e. good health, children, material wealth, etc.) while recognizing the fragility of those achievements; they are tenuous at best – here today, but potentially gone tomorrow. Frivolity and an irreverent spirit are displayed alongside the tempered knowledge that tragedy can strike at any time.

My nephews are going to school in costume tomorrow. Each was asked to dress up as a Jewish leader. One is going as Moses, the well-known biblical leader of the Israelites who, as a result of losing his temper (he struck a rock in anger), was not permitted into the Promised Land. The other is dressing up as Moshe Katzav, a former Israeli president, who is serving a seven-year-sentence in jail for rape. Two Moshes; two leaders; two successes that ended – one in disappointment and the other in disgrace. Fortunately, the strength and fortitude of the Jewish people continue on despite the behaviors of their leaders.

Continuing with the festivities, there will be a Purim party at my sister’s moshav this weekend. I’ve been told that I must dress up and prepare myself for a night of drinking. The family and friends here only know me with a certain face – the eldest sister from Atlanta who’s in the country this week for business purposes. Boringly controlled and predictable. So, whom should I dress up as and what will my choice say about who I really am versus who I may want to be? Will I be proud of or mortified by the pictures that undoubtedly will get posted on Facebook the very next day?

Given that I’m jet-lagged and sleep deprived at the moment, I’ll have to find answers to these questions tomorrow.

Note:  For a different perspective on Purim, see last year’s blog post by clicking here.

4 thoughts on “The Masks We Wear

  1. Strangely, I didn’t think of Golda, I thought of Margaret Thatcher, especially as played by M. Streep. But, for me a better image would be as Bar Rafaeli (sp?). Especially for one of her modelling shoots.


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