MARTY FOIL FLIPS through a box of masks. They used to be plain and white, the kind you can buy at any crafts store. He gave them to members at Hinds’ Feet Farm and told them to create an outward expression of what it’s like to live with a brain injury. Some of their masks glow with happiness. Some wallow in darkness. Some simply recite the person’s interests and hobbies. Some mix the three.
Foil stops at a mask created by a woman named Ginny. She suffered a traumatic brain injury when she fell down the stairs when she was four. She is in her late 40s now, and on her mask she placed a cutout of two hands over the mouth, nose, and eyes of her mask. “Representing,” she wrote underneath, “my shame, being torn, afraid, unwanted, and sadness.”
She glued four yellow stars onto the hands and three silver stars onto the forehead, which she painted red. The thumbs and index fingers of the hands connect to form an upside-down heart over the mouth. It’s hard to tell if she did that on purpose. She colored the heart—if it is, indeed, a heart—orange. She sprinkled glitter on her mask, “for my sparkling personality, and stars to show my desire to be a celebrity.”
[Article by Matt Crossman and photography by Logan Cyrus of Charlotte Magazine]