Pink Panther Magazine--Feminist Art & Writing

A women's group, celebrating feminist art and writing

The Many Masks of Torment -- Sunday Features 12 June 2011

Jenifer DeBellis Jenifer DeBellis 1312 posts

Mental torment: we mold the masks that cover the shame; we wear the warpaint as a badge of honour; we try to smother the voices of torment in the darkest corners of our being. But the masks and the paint and the darkest of dark cannot drown out the madness. It will find a crack, an opportune moment, and creep into every waking fiber of our being — and then it will unleash it’s wrath. It might come in the form of the silent warfare of the repeated whisper that no one else can hear. Or it might sing in the voice of condemnation and guilt that can’t be distinguished from one’s own. Or maybe it’s hiding out with the screams of madness, anxiety riddled thoughts, and/or the ocean depths of depression that carry with them every imaginable clinical name. But one thing’s certain: the torment finds each one of us in its own time, with its own purpose, and in its own shades of raging colour.

There’s a vibration that has been crying out to my spirit this week. It’s continued to reveal these masks of suffering that so many are struggling to fit into, hide behind, or simply endure to overcome. One thing that stood out in these connected works is what beauty can be crafted out of the ashes from such torment.

The voices never tire of tormenting in a restless mind.

Entangled by the endless chatter in my mind by Renate Dartois

Even when we set out to conquer, our very own loose ends often become our very undoing.

Frayed by singerchick

You must know most of my plans come to naught.*
Not from lack of desire; rather,
My failure to tie a knot in the loose ends
Of my unraveling.
These threads have minds of their own;
Fashioning themselves into new patterns,
Draping me in different adventures.
Tethering and leading me in diverse directions
As we all know, life is what happens
While you’re making other plans.

Sometimes, the tormentor rears its ugly head, so even our reflection becomes a constant, nagging reminder.

Parasite of Mine by Christina Rodriguez

Often, numbness is the only defense against the chaos.

pitch black by Alenka Co

I know the pitch-black dead of night
have walked this path a long, long time
numb hands, numb heart
thistles can’t touch
thorns can’t pierce
numb is the only way to tread
to stumble, fall and not be torn

ahead, there’s light
I could step in
but such a risk ….. to feel again

Reminded of the mistakes, reminded of the hurts, reminded of the disappointments; where one voice leaves off, the others pick up.

The Persistence of Loss by Heather King

Let’s not forget about the reminder of being insignificant, unimportant in the larger picture.

Insignificant by Sally Omar

walking solemnly
shoulders slightly drooped
her corn colored hair
hung loosely around her face
her torn jeans
her wrinkled shirt
the emptiness she carried
within her very being
never raised her eyes
when she spoke
never felt equal to anyone
her mother’s constant insults
her father’s constant slaps
the ache in her heart
was way too much to bear
she walked among people
but walked all alone
unnoticed, unloved, fearful
never realizing that she possessed
beauty, talent and intelligence
she walked among the living
but her soul had died
after all, they called her

It’s often not at all what is appears to be. Sometimes, it becomes one’s forbidden lover — yet, it’s still just another deceptive place of hiding.

Deluded by Janelle McKain

How overpowering those moments are when the compounding torment turns into full-blown anxiety.

Panic-attack Girl by msdebbie

She ran into bricks,
Sweet and low,

How about 20 milligrams
Of Carbamazepine?
Talking too fast, but
Who would know?

Sweet and oh so low,
She is a panic-attack girl,
Anxious and unfathomable,
Crying, tired and unstable.

For her brain,
She craves silence.
For her life,
She longs for distance.

Without words,
She wants to fly away.
Soaring without anything,

Alone in the song,
Colours now pastel.
She feels battered, war-weary.
Not even a soldier.

Medicine can fix everything, right? Or is it too often fashioned into another mask, a cover of false comfort, or another dimension of torment?

Prozac by Agent7

There has to be something, anything, to drown it all out, to still the raging sea, to paint the colours of a troubled soul right.

Eyes without a Face by MoonlightLover

I lie in bed
Like I’m lying in a coffin instead
My head spinning
My mind deconstructing
Cannot think
Cannot move
Disgracefully innate
May as well vegetate

Like a body without a soul
A mind without control
Trajectory senses have blown a fuse
My nano wires are crossed and confused
So What am I to do

He says “Try meditation”
She says “Try remediation”
I say “I’ll try it on the toilet”
He says “You cannot avoid it”
She says “treat yourself”
I say “No, I am not myself”

Whatever it is instilled
The void must be filled
Writers block
Cerebral constipation shock
Shit in, no shit out
My secret ambitions walkabout
Too much eye candy
No substance, flimsy, dandy
Less is more, more is less
Right now I really couldn’t careless

Images stream through my head
A cacophony of mindless chaos instead
I say “So I’m writing any shit I want
Just let me be the woman I want”
He says “let your thoughts go free”
She says “Be the person you want to be”.
I say “But I’m fading away fast, I don’t think I can last”.

“I’m like eyes without a face
This will be my fall from grace”.
He says “Don’t think that way”
She says “Well I have nothing more to say”.

Bubbling with emotional energy, how empowering are the screams that become melodies of witness to others?

all my screams fell into a song by Mushda

Hopefully, within the midst of the madness, we don’t forget what our true reflection looks like.

no one by autumnwind

like a tree
that never fully opens
I am
to reach for the sky

some days
the winds
sing to me
let go
come with us

it is then
the tears of storm
make my already
too strong roots
sink even deeper

for I am earthed

no thing
can ever
be like the wind

to dream dance

and now
I’ve forgotten how

head down
arms crossed
eyes closed

dig me out
from under
and remind me…

who I am

autumnwind autumnwind 7872 posts

Jenifer, your presentation of these features here is phenomenal and speaks to me deeply, as do all these amazing works of art and poetry. To simply read and view your features every week, is a sharing of deep seated emotion like no other. It is the knowing of not being alone in the darkness. Anna, Sybille and Jenifer and any other hosts of this group, you give so much more than you realize, to so many reading and viewing. To have the honor of being a part of this is truly gift beyond measure, validation and rare privilege. I thank you all from the deepest part of me. Congratulations to all featured artists this week. And congratulations amazing hosts for creating a space of raw and creative freedom, which has resulted for me in being a most supportive comfort zone, I treasure dearly.
Love and hugs to all. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOO

eoconnor eoconnor 2467 posts


Anna Shaw Anna Shaw 7360 posts

Dear Jenifer – each time I think that you cannot bring any more to the features – you do. This is walk through the dark side, but always with the belief that the walk will lead to new horizons, new insights and newfound self knowledge. What you have enabled me to understand is just how painful is this voyage, but what unaccountable beauty can be found at the same time.

These features are just one example of why I love this group so much and why I value the openness, honesty and courage of our sisters here.

Dear Shar – thank you – and you are just so insightful when you talk about the raw and creative freedom here. Your words mean so much to me.

C Rodriguez C Rodriguez 80 posts

Thank you so much Jenifer for making my piece a part of this great presentation. With each new feature my work receives, I feel less and less alone in my battle with myself….I know I am not the only one who suffers from inner demons, but I know I am also not the only one who can express those demons in such a beautiful way….CONGRATULATIONS to everyone….thank you. xoxoxo

Sally Omar Sally Omar 963 posts

Congratulations to everyone featured!!! And thank you for featuring “insignificant” … I am truly honoured!! xo

H Maria Perry H Maria Perry 4327 posts

Congratulations all you lovely feminists! Great art and writing!

Alenka Co Alenka Co 386 posts

Thank you, for allowing me to share such feelings with your group, for letting me ‘step into the light’

Beautifuldreamer Beautifuldreamer 81 posts

A great collection of female creativity!

Sybille Sterk Sybille Sterk 1472 posts

Fabulous collection Jen, love the way you’ve combined them. Lots of them would have been in my midweek features. LOL Congrats to everyone. xo

msdebbie msdebbie 365 posts

Dear Jen, thanks so much for including panic-attack girl in this tremendous collection of art and poetry. I have such respect for the way that you feature such powerful works – and it is an honour in such a strong group of amazing writers and artists. The flow through of ideas is really captivating – congratulations to all involved xoxoxo

Jenifer DeBellis Jenifer DeBellis 1312 posts

Thanks everyone. There really is so much wonderful art and writing in this group; putting a feature together takes on a life and energy of its own.
Congratulations again to all the featured artists and writers. xox

KathiSPerez KathiSPerez 13 posts

Powerfull, All – Fantastic collection
Thank You Jenifer

KIK KIK KIK KIK 145 posts

yessssssss, A great collection of female creativity… Great art and writing…Congratulations~

oema oema 20 posts

what a strong compilation of art… such beauty from such pain… really powerful work.
Congratulations to all the artists! x