The Mark Hastings Experience – Episode #66: “Black Swan”

In this episode Mark talks about one of his favourite films: 2010 American psychological horror thriller film “Black Swan” directed by Darren Aronofsky. Starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, and Winona Ryder – the film revolves a production of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’ ballet by the New York City Ballet company, and it shows the psychological and physical trauma that obsessive dancer Nina (played by Natalie Portman) goes through in the process of attempting to embody and perfectly perform the dual role of both the fragile White Swan and the sensual Black Swan.

My Poem “Masked”

Masks are everywhere these days
and they are being worn
by many people in many ways –
but some masks have been worn
for much longer and for more reasons
than for what and for why some people
now wear them for and for what
they now wear them
to protect themselves from.

The masks that people wear
every day, sometimes for years,
look like a face that you might
remember and recognize –
but beyond, behind, and below
that mask of skin and muscle
often lies the real person:
someone who may be crying out
from inside a deep and dark tunnel
where they are troubled by
thoughts, feelings, and emotions
that at times of intense trauma
make them feel like they are
a prisoner within the cell of a prison
the walls of which no one else
could ever possibly understand.

People often wear masks
which have smiles upon them –
however, in reality, the true face
that they are wearing on the inside
is one like that of a sad clown
with tears running down their face
and ruining the makeup that they wear
to continue to sell the facade
that helps them not break down
physically, mentally, and emotionally
whenever someone gets too close
for comfort and they start
to stop and stare.

Wearing masks is not a new thing,
however the wearing of material masks
has become more normalised
and is more prevalent than ever…
people often wear emotional masks
so that they can go through life
and are not constantly being asked
whether they are alright
or whether there is something the matter.

Things like the physical pain
and the psychological anguish
that people have to daily cope with
are easier to hide when seen
from far away but they are harder
to disguise when seen up close…
some people need to wear masks,
because who they reveal themselves to be –
perhaps when they are alone
in the shadows of their bedroom
and listening to the music
of their favourite artist,
when they can finally let
their inner-self be free –
is often not the same person
who they want to see,
or want to be seen,
in reflection, or by anyone,
because the face of who
they really are is that of someone
whom only they know
and whom only they know how to be.