By Tannis Kelm

“The trouble with a mask is it never changes.” Charles Bukowski

If I’m in disguise, I wonder how I got out here on the corner tugging with my left hand. Was it just because no one stopped me? Something to do, someone to do it with. Not the first time, will it ever be the last? I’m working it. Working it here, owning something. The shy girl in the corner letting it all out, but not doing a bang up job of it. Though I realize I am being hard on myself here, each attempt at my confident disguise becomes a bit easier to pull off. Practice turning into a lifestyle, self esteem at an all time high.

My closet is armed to the teeth, bits and pieces waiting for a combination. Buttoning and zipping, accessories in a bulging pile. I’m not cowering in this corner, but popping a squat on the cement and there are continuously people passing by. One person’s embarrassment is another’s bare ass pissing relief. In between is the balance and sometimes it’s easier to teeter on the inner edge of one of them so you can step back and breathe a bit before you get out there and balance again. Modern life is reality TV and everyone is watching. A new way to make a fresh start if you can handle the conversation. If you dress it you are it, or you may be perceived as it, someone you’re not. (How perfect when that happens, it’s like you’ve done something right!).

I wear my clothes like armor in a sea of soldiers, a way to attract attention without standing out, ready for anything. Blending in with a well manicured crowd is better than people wondering why you don’t take care of yourself. People talk to that person, but they wish more for you. Self-confidence grows like a magnolia; it’s a beautiful but delicate thing which needs constant attention to detail in order to grow, each having it’s own color and splash that sets it apart. Though I wouldn’t let thinking about aesthetics hold you back because that’s not the seed, it’s only the petals so easily plucked. As far down deep into it as you began, you are, what doesn’t happen right away can happen eventually if you keep at it. You can grow overnight, though it may take years to feel like you belong. Progress is each time you make it out of your comfort zone, possibly dancing around a bit.

Every experience can shine a light on a place inside you weren’t aware of, sometimes you’ve just got to project or be back lit to find that out. I’ve never had as much fun as when my guarded self stepped down. So much energy stored there and wasted worrying, pacing away. I decided to cast it off on more than one night a year. Theme nights gave way to the everyday—how exhausting, but worth it. The most interesting people put themselves out there over and over again, not expecting any sort of reward for doing it other than being surrounded by other people doing the same thing, and that’s as good a feeling as you can have. I keep wanting to go back and continue adding to my arsenal, learning and growing, being a part of something.

Disguise yourself to be fabulous, to share a joke, to give something back. A disguise doesn’t have to be mysterious; it can be an offering of yourself and a good way to start a conversation. Most people already wear masks, we are conditioned for it and are protected there, not exposing our full selves only what other people expect or what we think they expect. It would probably be best if we all just dropped the charade and told the truth revealing an honest personality instead of the one that is force fed to us through the media (Photoshop masks) and gender conditioning. It seems to me that honesty has always been a better choice. Why be something you’re not? It’s hard to pull that off and it doesn’t help you feel better about yourself. It’s difficult to give of yourself completely to someone not doing the same, especially if you hoped they were giving back what you are offering.

To anyone holding back I wish for you that little bit extra, that push forward instead of standing still, because there are so many possibilities it would be a shame to limit yourself. Everyday disguises should be worn and celebrated; it’s what makes life interesting. More people need to start breaking the walls that divide us. We all can communicate from our cores. It’s something I do everyday, but it’s not easy. Some days it’s harder to do than others and I’m often unsuccessful, but trying and failing is better than not trying at all.

Don your confidence disguise whether it be a sexy nurse or sexy Bo Peep once a year, or have fun with a continuous reinvention just be sure to remember that feelings of knowing what you want and who you are, if you have that good things will eventually come. Every time you put yourself out there it becomes a little easier to do and you are more likely to meet like minded people. No one should ever be made to feel bad about their individuality. This world would be so different if everyone was only wearing their disguises on the outside instead of holding up masks.


Tannis Kelm is a singer/songwriter who performs under the name Hors. Find her on FacebookTwitter Sound CloudTumblr, or her Gold Chair Sessions videos on YouTube. Tune in to CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Tuesday nights at 11 p.m. for her show, Listening Pleasures.