Ever since I connected with author, poet, and spoken word artist Shana Gourdine, I have been intrigued by how she has used the Mask as a metaphor for aspects of the human condition. So when we agreed to this interview, I knew I had to concentrate on understanding her interpretation.
Meet Shana Gourdine!
1.Support Our #creatives: Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us how you got your start doing what you do.
Shana Gourdine: I am an award-winning author, poet, motivational speaker, podcast host, self-love life coach, spoken word artist, and an advocate for domestic violence and chronic illnesses awareness. In the wake of acute trauma, disappointments, and domestic violence, I emerged with a great motivation, a beacon of hope and possibility to many. In my blossoming authoring journey, I have authored two and co-authored five books, all of which are geared to impact lives positively, empower, elevate, and impart self-knowledge. I am an ambassador of change in a fervent mission to rejuvenate energy, will, and love to live.
I got started by taking a stand of not remaining silent after my domestic violence and abuse tragic situation. After going through counseling and worked through my PTSD, anxiety, and depression, I decided I needed to speak out and not be silent. I needed to show my daughter that you can be an overcomer of things regardless of the situation.
2.The Mask metaphor is prominent in your messaging in your website name “The Lady Behind the Mask” and your books “The Mask Behind the Mask” and “Unveiled Pieces of a Broken Mask.” Discuss the two books and elaborate on what exactly is being masked and is it physical, emotional, or both?
“The Mask Behind the Mask”: This book motivates you to look inside your mask and know that it is okay to cry, be sad, be mad, and love who you are thorough it all. We wear many masks to cover the flaws or imperfections we have, but there is always a mask that we still hide behind. There is always another face that we hide behind so others don’t see it. Just know that it is okay to love all of you – including the imperfections we try to hide from. This is to inspire you to embrace the real you and to be strong through all things, with poetry.
“Unveiled Pieces of a Broken Mask”: This book is a spinning of my first book, “The Mask behind the Mask,” and also a book of the next stage of taking your mask off. In the first book, I was letting you know that we all carry a mask, where you may have not been comfortable with your imperfections of who you are behind your mask. In this book, I am here to help you unpack the things we carry and hold on to that can end up destroying your relationships (with friends, associates, family, or partner). We are going to take time to rebuild the person that you have hidden from the world because you were not comfortable in your own skin. We are going to get uncomfortable to get comfortable with ourselves regardless to what others think about who you are. This is the time to learn who you are and what makes you happy.
The mask stands for people dealing with things physical and emotional. For example, I was hiding my shame and disappointment behind a mask without talking about I was suffering in silence and that is not healthy. The other meaning of the mask is I deal with four different health conditions – fibromyalgia, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis, and polycystic kidney disease. I take my mask off, let people in.
3.Tell us about your spoken word and poetry slams.
I have been writing since I was 12 years old. Ever since I was young I have entered my work into contests. Now I have done poetry open mic and poetry slams online and in person.
4.Describe your album “I Was Always a Rose in the Darkness of Love.” What issues does it address? Why did you decide to express yourself in this way?
“I Was Always a Rose in the DARKNESS of Love” is my poetry album that allows me to speak to individuals through words and music. I use the other sense: the ears. Not everyone likes to read so I took a step farther and did it with music so they can get empowering through their ears.
5.Talk about your passion fighting domestic violence. In your documentary on the subject, “Through Their Eyes the Mask Behind the Mask,” was it difficult to get victims to participate?
No, it was not difficult to get people to participate. No, there are a few people ready talk about how they overcame and not just a survivor anymore. My passion for the fight for domestic violence and abuse is that I want help people that haven’t gotten in this position, I want help people that are in it right now, and I want help people that have to deal with this tragic situation after it happens.
6.What are you working on now? Let’s hear about your current project.
I am working on my last part of the Mask Collection, “The Reveal of the Mask,” my second spoken words album.
7.Provide your thoughts on building a following, attracting attention to your projects, and procuring a platform to show your works. Describe how social media has helped you get your message out, and how it would have been different (or even possible) without these resource.
I use social media as a places to gain leads and my target audience that my message speaks to. Being able to put my books and projects in front of different people. Without social media, I do hold events to showcase my book and material to help individuals understand the mask they made be carrying
8.Are there any other project(s) you want to mention?
Yes I am thinking of doing another documentary and maybe a children’s book could be on the way.
9.What projects are you most proud of?
I am proud of all my projects – they all have own special places.
10.What do you want to tell our readers that will inspire them?
To never be afraid to set out on faith. You can do anything you put mind to, you hold the power to your future of success.
11.How can we get in touch with you?
Website: The Lady Behind the Mask
Instagram: Shana Gourdine
Facebook: Shana Gourdine
Facebook: Shana Gourdine Author
TikTok: Author Shana G
Twitter: Shana W. Gourdine
LinkedIn: Shana UNMASKING Motivation
So what have we learned about the Mask metaphor? No matter how hard you work at peeling off a mask that conceals something about you, there will always be another mask concealing something about you – albeit flaws and imperfections. But that’s OK and you should always love everything about you. For me, I interpret this that we as humans have a lifelong task to reveal more and more about ourselves, and learning to be comfortable doing so.
Creatives out there, if you want me to interview you, please contact me. This will give you exposure to an audience in my “circle,” that you may not have reached before.
To my readers, please provide feedback or questions in the Comments. I would really enjoy hearing from you. And let me know if there are any topics you would like me to cover.
Disclaimer: The author is not being financially compensated by anyone associated with any project mentioned, for this post.
The interview was edited for readability and formatting.
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