Tale Weaver #41 – Masks – The Life of the Party

 

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He was the talk of the town, the life of every party but underneath all the bravado there did lay a secret and a life he was happy to hide himself away from.

Every social event in town was an open invitation for him; people went out of their way to invite him.

They did so as he was such a worldly man, full of humour and grace.

He wooed the women and impressed the men, he could talk eloquently on any subject and there wasn’t anything he seemed afraid to discus.

He attended numerous charity events and as a draw card ensured that whatever the charity they received the maximum support.

Every so often he would disappear. The official line was that he was taking a break away from his heavy schedule. His life was just that, function after function, committees lining up to engage him in their efforts to raise funds for their particular cause.

One year he didn’t come back. Missed the Black and White Country Ball, the Inner City Poverty Drive and the Children’s Hospital Annual Fun Run.

Eyebrows were raised and questions asked.

Where was he?

His absence was out of character.

Weeks turned into months and soon he name was forgotten for that is how modern society is, if you aren’t out there doing it and in the public eye they turn to someone else.

 

There’s a man on the street corner, a man sitting there in his raggy shirt and his tattered coat. At his feet is a small used coffee cup in which donations can be placed.

He sits there every day and most people ignore him, some who have come to notice him nod as they go by dropping their small change into his cup.

A young journalist walks by and stares at him, in her head a light comes on and she hurries to her work place.

On the computer she finds what she is looking for.

Article after article of the once famous and in demand man who vanished without any trace.

The next day she ventures out into the street and finds him once again on his corner.

She sits and engages him in conversation, says she knows who he is and wants to know his story.

He looks at her through eyes that betray his disappointment in being discovered. He wants to be forgotten, he wants to remain anonymous.

Later that day she follows him to the place he stays in. An old lodging place. She asks him to come to dinner.

Over the next weeks she gains a degree of his confidence and she gradually extracts parts of his story. She asks his permission to use his tale.

In White Ribbon Week, a campaign to educate men against the use of domestic violence the journalist publishes her story about the other side of domestic violence. Violence against men.

Her subject like so many male victims of domestic violence wants to stay anonymous. Despite escaping the violence his life has been destroyed, his self-esteem shattered, his sense of himself as a man no longer recognisable.

He wants to be an advocate; to spread the news that domestic violence doesn’t discriminate.

So his story is told but his identity hidden for he still fears the wrath of his attacker should his story be known. He fears the ridicule of family if they did discover the reason for his fall from grace.

He remembers the life he once had, how it brought him fame and fortune and at the same time the humiliation of a home in which he was the source of all ill humour. How day after day the endless ridicule, the greed and selfishness finally drove in to seek refuge and escape.

Of course all that resulted in rumour and innuendo as to why he had disappeared, his wife filled the papers with tales of his infidelity, his drinking, his gambling how she was left with children he obviously didn’t care for.

All the while he lived there he was the life of the party, the name on every one’s lips and he was happy to wear that mask, a mask that hid the truth.

His new mask is no different, just a little more grizzled and unkempt.

 

Written for: https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/tale-weaver-41-masks/

 

 

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19 Responses to Tale Weaver #41 – Masks – The Life of the Party

  1. You cover two very important points here: that domestic violence affects men, too (possibly less frequently than it affects women, but the results can ba eat least as devastating); and that we all wear masks – we all show the world the face we want it to see (or is it just me?)
    A worthwhile tale. Well done.

  2. mandy says:

    I agree with Keith, Michael, this is a really valuable topic to raise awareness about, and you did a wonderful job with this TW story. Both domestic violence against men and mask wearing are topics we think are hidden in places we don’t frequent, yet they are actually hiding right in plain sight; they are hidden in our grocery clerks, our postmen, our doctors, our professors. And many of them end up on street corners, or on a stool at the local pub– shadows of who they were supposed to be. I think the trauma of domestic violence (as with all trauma) can make mask-wearing a good thing, so the victim can have time to work their way through the trauma. The risk, of course, is getting too comfortable wearing the mask long term. Thank you for broaching this topic, Michael. DV is especially difficult for men to talk about.

    • Thank you Mandy for your comment I value your contribution and thoughts on this topic. I agree it can get very comfortable behind the mask and so the real person never has to step out from behind it……..such a shame for all the sufferer especially….

  3. Too often we think of the man being attacker, but yes there are cases of the opposite. Masks are worn for many reasons, including fear and shame. A worthy story to be told and well penned Michael.

  4. Man is not always the predator. I really appreciate you for writing this. It’s a perspective overlooked all too often!

  5. An extremely thoughtful, compassionate and insightful piece on a subject that often goes unnoticed, unreported/recorded, or unacknowledged/unaccepted.
    Abuse is about power and control. We shouldn’t assume we know always know the gender of the abuser and the abused behind the couple’s closed front door.

  6. Bastet says:

    I really enjoyed this thoughtful well written post Micheal … violence comes in many forms and no one is immune to it. We tend to think of domestic violence as beatings et al, but there is that subtler violence that humiliates and destroys a person’s self esteem which is just as insidious and devastating, because the damage is hidden .. unseen and all too often hidden behind a mask of normality.

  7. J Lapis says:

    WOW, this is stunning, Michael, absolutely stunning. So well written and tugs the heartstrings. I recall a movie about this topic, spousal abuse with the man as victim–how men feel twice the shame women do. I hate all abuse–and wish everyone could just be kind and gentle and loving. Sadly, what we “do”, we usually learned somewhere by a hard-hearted teacher–and it can be difficult to not repeat the pattern/lessons. This is why I chose not to have children–I was terrified I’d be like my mother; that would have killed me–long before it had a chance to harm them much.

    • That’s really sad J probably more so as you recognised in your mother the abuse that shaped that decision.
      But you know being aware of it may have saved you and any child. It’s a heavy burden you have had to carry through life.
      Thank you for visiting my blog today.
      Was all your thanksgiving cooking well received?

      • J Lapis says:

        I know I made the right decision, feel strongly about it, so there’s really no sadness associated–which is a gift.
        I woke up sick on Thanksgiving (and had injured my food the night before), so my high-spirits were quite deflated. Yet, I still had to cook the remainder of the menu–as in truth, I’m quite alone, no guests and no assistance (I cook the whole shebang because I enjoy doing so, and because it means I won’t have to cook again for a week!). So I’m been lying around, taking an enforced break–but today I’m “here”, so that means I’m well on the mend!! 🙂 So, this explains my absence–I used my energy to do the clean up of a million dishes/pans, rather than blog. And having boiled the small carcass (turkey breast/neck bones), today I got all the bone pieces out so I can make a lovely turkey soup with the broth!! I can almost see you shaking your head–no, the cooking never stops!!
        Oh, PS–I had made a Coconut Cream Pie and pan of fudge for a friend, and her son came to pick those up. She phoned in the evening to say they were “well received”, delicious 🙂

  8. This is a very lovely and insightful piece. Too often, we think women as the victims and forgot that men can similarly face things we usually associate with women (e.g. domestic abuse/rape). Thank you for writing and sharing this piece. Hopefully, it’ll help in bringing more awareness 😀

  9. Pingback: Weekly coffee date #3 | cherrytales

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