Life

Take a Breath

Something else about masks …

I promise I’ll shut up about masks …

maybe …

eventually …

We went to our neighboring city’s Wal-Mart last night, (we go grocery shopping every Friday night after we eat – it’s one of our “date” nights – I know, we are ANIMALS), and it was so nice to see nearly everyone without a mask. It seemed so normal! It was nice to see people’s faces again.

Then, today, I went to my local Wal-Mart to grab some chocolate, (don’t judge), some Wheat Thins, (I’m OBSESSED with them right now), and some darker foundation, (because it’s summer and I tan very easily), and nearly everyone was wearing a mask!

*cue sad, dramatic music*

SIGH

Kevin and I are having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that we live in a liberal city. In fact, let me prove it:

Do you see that one white spot?

Yeah, that’s where we live and it’s the ONLY county in the ENTIRE state of Missouri that has NOT entirely lifted restrictions. Really? Really?!? What the actual hell? We’ve been in denial for a long time and it’s time for a reality check – we are surrounded by liberals. And the frustrating part, (among many), is that we had an opportunity to vote these mo-fos out of office but did we?? Nope. Why? Because most people are not paying attention to what’s going on around them and didn’t even bother to vote!

AARGH!

*deep breath* Anyway, Kevin and I refuse to wear a mask and people can just bite my butt because WE ARE OVER THIS PANDEMIC CRAP. It’s over. Accept it!

However, it got me thinking as to why people still choose to wear a mask and I’m betting the reasons go way beyond COVID. And this article caught my eye:

A number of women have come forth asserting they would prefer to keep wearing masks, even after the general public has discarded them, with some of the women offering explanations such as a mask functions as an “invisibility cloak” or acts “almost like taking away the male gaze.”

I found this fascinating. It never really occurred to me that people would WANT to continue wearing masks for reasons outside of COVID. But it makes sense to me. Masks hide your identity, they, in essence, make you invisible to people. Some of the reasons given in this article:

“I don’t want to feel the pressure of smiling at people to make sure everyone knows I’m ‘friendly’ and ‘likable.’ It’s almost like taking away the male gaze. There’s freedom in taking that power back.”

I can definitely relate to this reason. There are days the last thing I want to do is smile at people, or put on my happy face. People are exhausting, especially when you work with the public. You have to pretend so much when you’re around people, the good and the bad, and it gets old having to pretend something you’re not all the time. It’s also a great way to disguise my expressions because sometimes, I listen to patients and it’s all I can do not to grimace or frown, or whatever, and wearing a mask helps to hide my true feelings. My face is very expressive, (so I’ve been told), and I have a MEAN resting bitch face, the mask is great for covering that up.

I’m not sure what this commenter is saying about the “man gaze.” Does she mean the look that men give you when they think you’re attractive? As a woman, I understand that look and I agree, I don’t necessarily like it, but I would rather endure that look than continue to wear a face diaper.

“Maybe it’s because I’m a New Yorker or maybe it’s because I always feel like I have to present my best self to the world, but it has been such a relief to feel anonymous. It’s like having a force field around me that says ‘don’t see me.’”

I don’t know what being a New Yorker has to do with this comment but I agree, masks were a way to make you anonymous to the world. You blended in and in a lot ways, it did make you feel a bit invisible. I can relate to this sentiment because when I’m out in public, on my own time, doing my thing, I want to be left alone. I’m on a mission, to get what I need, or do what I need to do, and leave. Blending in was a perfect way for me to remain under the radar and not draw attention to myself.

“I just stare at that little box with my face in it and pick apart my appearance. My double chin seems six times larger, my eye bags are too deep of a purple, etc … Even when there’s a heatwave and my apartment is close to 90 degrees, I’ll wear a turtleneck that I can pull up. I pack on thick makeup that makes my skin peel. I 10,000% plan on wearing it for the foreseeable future. After a full work day of worrying and not being able to focus on my actual job, it just feels nice to blend in. Simply put, I’m sick of being perceived.”

This comment just makes me sad. I feel bad that people are so self-conscious about how they look that they would prefer to wear a face diaper than allow people to see them. I’m sorry some people feel this way, however, that’s even more of a reason to get out there and live your life instead of hiding from it. Take control, do something about those insecurities, whether that’s make different lifestyle choices or seek therapy – no one should want to wear a mask simply to hide physical imperfections.

I’ll never forget the first time we were FORCED to wear a mask. It was a trip to Wal-Mart shortly after this pandemic started and they wouldn’t allow you to come in without one. I was so furious the entire trip that by the time we got back out to our car, my heart rate was 160! I felt faint and JUST PISSED OFF. To me, wearing a mask is dehumanizing and humiliating. It does something to your psyche, at least, it did to mine, and I furious that they were taking my right to choose away from me. To me, I was being forced to abide by someone else’s fears. It dented my fierce sense of independence and I was resentful as hell.

(Still am).

I, for one, FULLY EMBRACE the fact that we’re doing away with masks. If you want to continue wearing one, go ahead, but I will not be participating any more.

I choose to breathe freely. Always.