Taking the mask off.

Much has been written about the efficacy of masks the past couple of years. More so now that the pandemic appears to be waning. But this is not about the health benefits of wearing one nor are there any political undertones. No, this is about who the hell is that person masquerading as me for those two years.

Yes, we don’t wear masks in the house, at least not in mine. Nor do I wear one while showering and brushing my teeth. I do see my reflection in the mirror daily so it’s not like I’m a complete stranger.

Yet. Yet. It’s a different face. It is two years older and two years greyer, bordering (beardering?) on silver. WHO is that person?

There are new lines, a bit deeper than before. And the eyes, wearier now.

Such is the cost of what our lives have become in the short yet interminably long two years. Some of what has occurred is due to aging. I’m not fooling myself about that. It’s been a hard two years for all of us. It’s strain I see in my face now from not being able to live as I once did. It’s the weight of emotions from isolation, insecurity, and invasion. It has all contributed to the face now before me.

Besides the physical change, there are other changes. I’m more appreciative of the newly regained freedoms that are returning to us, ones we took for granted. I’m also more intolerant of deniers, those who for whatever reasons refuse to accept that this is no longer the ’50’s and that we are all in this together. One person’s freedoms are not another’s restrictions. That equation doesn’t work. Uh-oh, some science creeping in here. That’s not what this is about though. Hardly.

I’m glad the masks are coming off. They’re allowing us to see ourselves again in the harsh light of day… and those around us in the same way.

And if it becomes necessary to put the masks on again, I will and hope others will too.And that will produce change again and hopefully this time universal and for the better.

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