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  • Writer's pictureeschaden


I am struggling. I do not want to wear a mask again. I feel like I can’t think, I can’t hear and generally like I am cut off from others when I wear a mask. It is doing something horrible to my psyche. Really.

I have to now for work because the county I work in has reinstitute masks inside. So I am wearing one. Begrudgingly and with a lot of discomfort.

The only thing that helps is that my inconvenience is really slight. My discomfort very minor compared with the front line workers who have had to wear those horrible masks for 17 months. 17 fucking months. I would have lost my mind...really. I would be in a mental ward and they would be strapping me down to get that mask on me if I had had to wear one for 17 months in a row...

I guess what I really want to own today is how petty I really can be. I mean I am irritated that I am being asked to mask up again and it feels like a big ask to me. But I am going to do it because it is what is best for the collective whole. I do not like being told what to do, I hate wearing the mask and I am vaccinated. But I also do not want anyone else to die, even those who believe this is all a hoax, is a plot by the liberal media and who refuse to wear masks themselves. I do not want anyone regardless of their political views, vaccination status or religious leanings to die. I do not want there to be more suffering in this world.

However, I also feel like I want to address the suffering being created and expounded all around me right now. The mask wearers are creating more suffering by being angry at the anti-vaxxers and ant-maskers. The anti-maskers and anti-vaxxess are creating more suffering by refusing to take a few simple steps to help end the world wide suffering brought on by a virus that is killing us off one by one.

To me, there is really a lot of suffering going on all over and it seems like at least some of it could be avoided.

For me, I am going along with what is being asked of me for a few reasons:

1. It is the local law and as a general rule, I follow the laws even when I think they are stupid, I hate them or think that they really shouldn't apply to me. I do it because I have respect for the law even when I dislike them.

2. I do it because I care about everyone I come into contact with. I am not afraid of getting the virus because I have taken all the steps I can to ensure that I am protected. I wear the fucking dreaded mask because I care about those who are still unprotected, even the ones who think that the virus doesn’t apply to them.

3. I do it to give the healthcare workers a break. Because on a fundamental level I feel terrible for them and I have a deep well of gratitude for their unbelievable service. And I feel like even as much as I detest the mask, it is the very least I can do to support them and make their suffering a little less. If I never have to ask for their help, then that might just be an added moment that they can spend with their loved ones, doing something they enjoy or just not working so hard so that another person doesn’t die.

I too am tired of all of this. I want to pretend that we are not still in the middle of the pandemic. I want to pretend the numbers are not increasing and the vaccinations are not preventing the spread, just decreasing the number of people who are dying. I hate it all too.

I do not feel like a sheep. I do feel like I am being lied to because I feel that way about all politicians and the media. But I do not feel like I am being asked to really do all that much. I am generally staying home, washing my hands, wearing my mask where it is required and trying to keep a positive thought about humanity. Some days, I am not going to lie, it is a fucking struggle on all fronts.

For me, I have to find equanimity with all of us who are alive in this moment as we endure and move through this most challenging time. I can’t judge you because you refuse to wear a mask, because it makes me hateful and I don’t want to live like that. I can’t condemn your choices because I really, really do not want you to be able to make mine for me anymore than I want to make yours for you.

So I have to go for the love. What is the most loving thing I can do right now? Take care of myself as I feel is right and follow the ordinances and try not to bitch about it too much or use my willingness to comply as some stellar example of why I am a more evolved person. I am not. Remember, I just admitted that I hate wearing the fucking mask and I swear under my breath every time I have to put it on. I am not better, I am not worse. I am just another person on this earth trying to figure out where I begin and you end. And some days, that is very, very hard stuff.

Luckily for me, the mask does have one advantage: it hides my horror and disdain for how I see other people treating each other. I have a way to hide my shock and dismay. I mean I want to be authentic and all but I am not sure that I want to do that every day at Vons. You really don’t need to see that. Because I am not perfect and I too have my moments where I can act like an ass, am not spiritually fit and generally cause more suffering even while I am really committed to causing less.

They tell me that masking saves lives. They told me in the 1970s that I could prevent forest fires, and you know what, to date, they were right. I have never started a forest fire in all my fifty-one years! So I am going to wear the dreaded mask if only so that you cannot see me swearing not so silently underneath while doing my very best to hold a good thought for all of us...

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