January 31, 2021

What If I Just Took The Mask Off And Left The Rest Of You To Deal With It?

Jen McGregor | Flavia D'Avila, 36

VideoUndermask, 2020

I grew up with frightening things going on in my head. Early in adulthood I was diagnosed with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder. In a world where I’m constantly told BE YOURSELF! and YOU ARE ENOUGH! and taught to prize authenticity, I struggle with the question of what to do with the masks I wear. What social contracts might my “authentic self” break if I show her to you? Would anyone share the responsibility of putting her back behind her mask if required, or does that fall to me alone? My work explores my existence as a self-aware monster surrounded by people who tell me not to call myself that. But what if it helps? And how do you reconcile feeling that you ARE monstrous with being told not to think that but also to live authentically?