Covid-19, to simplify, has scared the living crap out of all of us. We’re scared to leave our house, we feel constantly isolated, and when we do leave our home, we have to wear masks, which I’ve come to realize symbolize fear. We’re afraid of ourselves and afraid of others, and although this is for a good reason- to stop the spread of the virus, it had me thinking of the other masks we wear during our lifetime. We wear these symbolic masks all of the time when we need to adapt to social situations or to hide our true feelings.
Within the past couple of weeks, I have made several trips outside to run errands as well as to get Starbucks- you know, the necessities during a pandemic. I’ve looked at the facial expressions beyond the physical masks that they wear and the and movements of the strangers I saw on my trips. I could just feel their fear radiating off of them and I could also feel my fear and anxiety bubbling as well behind the mask. It seems like this world has become a self-sustaining world where people are scared to be in the presence of others. We have to wake up, attend work or school by ourselves in the privacy of our own home, and keep to ourselves if we do go out. On top of that, we need to wear a mask which shows to the world that we are scared, or perhaps confined. We are confined to ourselves, we’re afraid of ourselves, we’re afraid of the world.
In addition to these physical masks, it had me thinking of a figurative mask I so desperately clung on to for dear life at the beginning of this quarantine when I felt like I had no one to talk to. In my case my mask had me staying within a comfort zone I so desperately needed to get out of. Although I consider myself an introvert, I don’t really like the feeling I get when I’m alone and in my thoughts. I clung on to a mask that prevented me from moving on from my ex-boyfriend, so naturally I still kept in contact with him in the beginning of quarantine because although I know he loved me and nourished me with a sense of comfort, his insecurities and anger would sometimes come out on me. When you’re wearing a mask, sometimes you’re unaware of it, it rubs off on you, it becomes a part of yourself and you can’t get it off. But, unlike the COVID-19 epidemic, relationship drama is something you can control. So naturally, I ripped off that figurative mask and learned to live without that protective barrier.
Fear controls us and sometimes we feel as though there’s no end to it. In times like these when you feel out of control, remember the things you can control. Remember that your life is what you make it. You are the judge of your own happiness, so take off those masks and learn to get out of your comfort zone.