~ One night, I had a vision in my dreams. It was as if I saw a figure standing atop a hill. A tall figure with a tall head. A head whose face seemed infinitely long. A face that stretched out to puncture the horizon itself. Masks adorned its ever-hidden face. Masks upon masks; masks layered on other masks; masks next to other masks. A face made all out of, and buried in masks. ~
Back home, if you wanted to call someone a bigoted, conservative, close-minded, authoritarian or traditionalist, there was one word you could use for that: communist.
This is but one of the many examples of the all-encompassing spectre of paradox that haunts Eastern Europe and the former USSR. With its many appendages, it reaches into the deepest crevices of everyday life and alters social, cultural, and political perspectives. I use the word spectre because of its characteristic difficulty to be noticed or perceived by the untrained eye.
I believe that the source of this paradox is at its core, the internal conflict between being both an oppressor, and an oppressed people.
Under the surface of this masculine performance, the cracks were hidden almost in plain sight. I was a victim of my past, everything I did was following life’s arbitrary order – or fiat, if you will.
I foolishly thought that by imitating the brute masculinity I saw in others I could perhaps one day be a full man too. But what ended up happening is that I assimilated only the superficial and the self-destructive.
As I was grappling with my masculinity, I looked back at my childhood. I imagined myself sitting on the shore of a lake with my child self. What would make young me happy? How could I help him grow? Could I be my own father figure?