The dangers of wearing a mask

Wearing a mask is a dangerous thing. I realized this a decade ago as the mask grew heavy, the torment real. Looking good. Being good. Pretending everything was alright.

We all learn to wear masks — or in other terms, to carry a role assigned to us at an early age. The good one. The smart one. The one who will go far. As the years roll by, our sense of self-worth is encased in the definition of those roles. Those masks that cover our truest selves. They suffocate us beyond the point of recognition. We identify with them, call them our own, but in reality, they are everything but who we are.

Then one day we awaken, gasping for air for the truth that has been hidden beneath the fibers and walls of our own making.

Wearing a mask to hide what is true is just about the most dangerous thing we can do.

Then there are the masks we must wear to support and to care. To love and to nourish. To protect and to uphold. Today we are asked, in the name of humanity, to wear them again. In a physical sense. In an act of consent, but for some an act of contrition. These masks are worn for a very different reason. Not because we must hide, but because we must understand that the greatest act of kindness is to shield others from the pain we may inflict. Unwittingly and unknowingly.

Today I read a tweet from Dr. Christian Northrup, a renowned obstetrician whom I have admired for years. Accompanying her words against the need to wear a mask “if you are healthy” was a picture of sheep, wearing surgical masks. The inanity of the post led me to realize that even the most admired among us have gone bat. shit. crazy. We wear these protective devices for no other reason than to care for those among us. These masks are not meant to contain us as human beings, but to contain a virus that has held the world hostage for months.

In the truest sense we are meant to wear masks right now, not the metaphorical coverings that kept us down before we knew how to rise. It is our collective duty to care for the world by covering nose and mouth. And to wash our hands, keep our distance and remain close to the greatest part of ourselves.


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