Who Was That Masked Poet?

I am a part-time Mystery Woman.

Last week, I drove up to the Napa area to attend another poetry reading and open mic. The two poems I read were well received, and it was more useful practice for me. While I listened, read and talked to poets afterward, I experienced a feeling that’s becoming quite familiar: Mystery Woman syndrome.

You see, some of my readers also read my other site, Not This Song, on which I write about living with mental health issues and living in recovery from substance abuse. These two things are a huge part of my life: I try not to let them define me, but who I am is shaped in large part by the nature of the disorders and the nature of the physical, mental and spiritual treatments I apply.

I feel like a mystery woman at these poetry events because nobody there knows anything about me. They have no idea about the mental health issues I have, or that I’m an addict. They don’t know about my past, or my family. Aside from whatever assumptions people make based on my appearance, my poetry speaks for itself.

As I spend more time in the poetry community, this might change, and I have mixed feelings about that. I’m not ashamed of being what I am (in fact, I expect these parts of me to provide much rich material) but I am prone to social insecurity and don’t look forward to extra challenges in that area.

3 responses to “Who Was That Masked Poet?

  1. I think it’s nice that you maintain some mystery. It forces people to read your work for what it is, not saddled with their preconceived notions of what it should be. Mystery is intriguing, intense and in short supply. My two cents, for what it’s worth. You earned a follow with your honesty and admissions. 🙂

  2. I felt insecure going to a poetry reading last Sunday, and I wasn’t even reading a poem. Social insecurity can get the best of us if we let it. Congratulations on going and reading.

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