Wearing a Mask of Your Own Face: On Persona, Race, and Identity

Not too long ago I published a (craft/lyric) essay on persona, race, and identity. It was lucky enough to find a home on Brevity’s (a great online journal of creative nonfiction) blog. You can read it here if you like.

I wanted to share the news since it came out but couldn’t quite find the words I wanted to introduce it. I wanted to say more about masks, about how even the body can be trained into a costume. I wanted to talk more about identity, about being biracial and my fear of “passing,” though to be honest as what I have no clue. I wanted to confess all the ways I still try to remain invisible or hide behind persona but secretly hope you meet my gaze, which is how most masks give the wearer away.

What I mean is here I am. I want to give myself away. Look me in the eyes and don’t blink. Not even once.

One reply on “Wearing a Mask of Your Own Face: On Persona, Race, and Identity”

Such beautiful writing in this essay, Michael–how you capture the complexities of self-presentation on the page, interpersonally, and in the mirror. As a writer of persona poems, I’m both inspired and sobered by your important reminder that “Persona, at its best, is a deep understanding of another that leads to a deeper understanding of the self.” Really, *everything* you say here is crucially important, and I’m delighted this essay is getting such wide airplay!

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