What if the most important thing in life is to figure out what we really think, want, feel? What if our biggest problem is the influence others wield over us, be they close acquaintances, family or far away aspirational figures, because we don’t know what we want? This thought occurred to me as I was packing my suitcase. Why did I want to take that particular piece of clothing—for comfort, to please someone else, or maybe just convention—you can’t be seen in anything but a dress if you are a certain age—or something equally ridiculous. And right then my brain exploded with the knowledge that I’ve been doing this all of my life, with e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
And then the thought, ‘but is this always a bad thing?’
It has taken nearly two years for Covid to finally exert its weight on me enough that I feel like a drowning woman at times. And I know I’m lucky. But still… still there are these constant decisions one must make to protect, nurture and grow oneself, not to mention the responses to nurture, protect and respond to those close to us. If you are an introvert and a ‘Highly Sensitive Person’ (HSP is a thing, researched and published by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D) this is a thick layer of complexity added to our already complex human existence, now compounded by layers of the Covid Effect.
I know some of you are struggling too, I’ve read your emails and blogs and this is effecting all of us in some way. At the time of writing, to go to South Australia and back here to Alice Springs again we have to have an approved border arrival document, a vaccination certificate to show upon arrival, a downloaded and set up G2G app so they can track us, and a negative covid test result within 72 hours of returning. We are triple vaxxed, so it is different for those who cannot be vaccinated or who choose not to be. As we recently experienced traveling to Adelaide to have tests done, the travel restrictions impact access to hospitals (where both tests were performed), causing us to add a week to our time away, and the costs that incurred. There are cancelled flights to rebook as the airlines attempt to get up and running again and are struggling to be viable. These times require great flexibility and knowing one’s inner strengths and sensitivities helps with that.
The first time I had to wear a mask in March 2020, it nearly set off a panic attack for me—sweaty palms and arm pits and shallow breathing on top of jet lag was not a great start. So I have been very grateful not living in a place where, until recently, I had to wear one much at all. During the times we’ve had to wear them we started bantering about the advantages of mask wearing—to ease the discomfort probably. I began to compile a list and thought it might be a bit of fun for you to see it.
If you wear a mask…
- You don’t have to cover your mouth when yawning (handy)
- You don’t have to worry that you have food in your teeth (my favourite)
- You don’t have to worry if your nose is running
- You don’t have to worry that there are foreign objects in your moustache (not me, personally…)
- You don’t have to clean behind your ears (the bands do it for you?)
- You don’t have to trim or wax your moustache (again, I’ve had help from a certain moustached person in my life on this one…)
- Don’t have to tweeze stray hairs on your chin (yep, me all the way)
- Don’t have to wear lipstick (me too, not him…)
- Don’t have to wear makeup on lower half of your face (except if you are going somewhere you can remove the mask and then you have this kind of two-toned look to your face)
- It helps to stop biting your nails (it’s just too obvious to flip up your mask to nibble a digit, ya know?)
- You can whisper expletives and no one will know what you said (goodness knows I have to repeat most of what I say anyway!)
- If anyone asks what you said you can clean it up and lie (ok, I may have done this once…)
- You don’t have to worry about using breath mints
- If you have a tongue like a giraffe you can pick your nose with it and no one will see (anonymous contributor–long spotty neck, tho)
- If you lose a front tooth no one will know
- It covers your mouth, agape, as you study the daily restaurant specials menu on the wall (c’mon we all do this…)
- When you fall into that ugly sleep on the plane, you don’t have to worry about the drool out the corner of your mouth (contributed by a friend…)
- When correctly fitted, a mask seems to hold up the ever drooping folds under my chin (ok, wishful thinking…)
I’m sure you can add a thing or two to this list. Or start another list of things not to do when wearing a mask, my personal favourite is ‘sneeze’. Don’t do it, very messy and gross.
The thing is, life is a very messy journey trying to figure out how one feels about everything, if they feel anything, even. Sometimes, having no response is what I wish for, because being highly sensitive seldom allows for that. I’m hoping you have some time to do whatever makes you feel peaceful and authentic in the coming months. I’ll be wearing my mask until I feel ok to remove it and not transmit covid to anyone, because call me late for dinner, but don’t call me prematurely de-maskulated.
(If you agree or don’t agree with mask wearing is not my purpose here. These are my views and a bit of fun and if you have your own views you can play along nicely or start your own blog.)
Kim Smith said:
Love your list of mask benefits! I guess we have to be able to laugh about this stuff, don’t we? Wishing you a safe and happy holiday, Ardys.
We do have to have a laugh at our situations and ourselves whenever we can. We are kind of a ridiculous life form at times! Thanks for the good wishes Kim, same to you.
I loved your thought-provoking self-questions in the first paragraph. Why is it we do what we do, and for what reasons? So much of it has to do with the complexity of our personal journey in life. Everything we experience in life helps us evolve to our authentic self (or not), and to me, there is no right or wrong in our choices or decisions. “Feeling peaceful and authentic” would be a wonderful mantra for the season… my best to you, Ardys. May joy and happiness be yours this holiday season! XOXO
Thank you Lori. I wish I had some more helpful answers to those questions but I guess we each have to search within for our own questions as well as the answers…or not. Best wishes to you and pray for me that this reply actually goes through, this is the fourth time I’ve tried to reply to you and WordPress is having a hissy-fit!! xo
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Your list made me smile! I intend to continue to wear a mask in places like shops, and of course it is still mandatory on public transport. It is such a cheap and easy step to take. But let me add to your list of things that can be tricky while wearing a mask:
1. Some types of earrings. I have a pair that is very curly, and the loops on the mask regularly get caught up.
2. Hearing aids. The Fella now wears his regularly, which has meant my exasperation levels have lowered considerably, but he has been in danger of loosing them a few times when the mask loops try to flick them out.
Thank you for your wish, that we find the time and space to be authentic. I hope your journey brings you joy.
You have the perfect start to the list of ‘Tricky Masky Things’ Anne! I actually know someone who flipped off his mask and sent a hearing aid across a car park, never to be seen again! Very expensive lesson. And also I have a pair of open hoop earrings that never fail to catch the ear elastic when removing my mask. The things we learn! Thanks for reading and contribution Anne, best to you and your family.
Loved the fun in this post.
Wearing a mask also prevents anyone from noticing your lopsided smile as the anesthetic wears off after extensive dental work!
For the younger set, wearing a mask disguises those monthly hormonal breakouts!
anne54 was absolutely correct…my husband quickly removed his mask as he was getting back in the car, the ear loop caught his hearing aid, & flung it clear across the parking lot!
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Thank you Donna, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. You have a couple more good ones there to add to the list! I thought of Homer as soon as I read Anne’s comment too. xo
From beginning to end, and over again… I like your style! For two of the three of our recent short trips I felt the need to pack attire suitable for other people, special occasions/outings… for the other beach holiday house stay in the middle, I blessedly pleased myself.
I’m never late for dinner! and I also continue to wear my mask. In town today I was happy to see more others than I’d anticipated doing the same… but in light of NSW’s escalating Covid cases I feel impatient with the Premier’s “treating people like adults” stance.
A pro for masks for me is there is more tendency for people engage with their eyes… an exchange of expressive glances can be a fun thing. A co-pro… funnily, I’ve had two encounters with people who attribute being hard-of-hearing to their own mask wearing… my 88 year old mother-in-law had an entire hospital waiting room in stitches of laughter, and a behind the counter young butcher shop assistant who just couldn’t decipher masked orders. A con… despite being tied up in a bun, my long fine hair finds its way in behind my mask, makes my nose itchy… and I know it’s poor Covid-care form to touch your face… but!
Thank you for the HSP book recommendation. I’ll check it out.
Wishing you and yours a safe, happy festive season and the best 2022 can bring.
I’m never late for dinner either, Dale. I actually don’t feel at all apologetic about wearing my mask whenever I’m in a situation where distancing is not possible or more than a handful of people are present, especially strangers. We get so many tourists here, and Indigenous from out bush, many of which are not vaccinated that I feel much safer going the extra step. But honestly, I would feel SO terrible if I got Covid and accidentally shared it with someone, worse than if I got it myself. I can so relate to that poor butcher shop assistant who was having trouble deciphering mask conversation. I try to speak up and enunciate more clearly but others haven’t quite caught on to that side of things yet…and these plexiglass shields at cashier points make it even more difficult. Elaine Aron has a couple of YouTube talks on HSP things online if you would rather explore her ideas there first. It was truly enlightening for me to discover after all these years why I had so many traits that seemed to not quite fit with most people’s experiences. Very best wishes to you and GO and Diesel for the coming weeks/months and into 2022. xo
Thanks for adding some humour to the dreariness of this ongoing COVID19 pandemic, Ardys! 😃
As we celebrate Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, May you and all those in the Southern Hemisphere have a blessed Summer Solstice.
Best wishes for the holidays and cheers to a better and brighter 2022! 🥂🌅
It is always such a nice gift to hear from you Valerie. Every year I try to wrap my head around the Winter Solstice and the Summer one being at the same time and I finally began to understand it when I recently saw a sculpture of the earth and how tilted it is. I’ve known this from childhood but somehow that sculpture really brought it home. Yes, here’s to reaching a new normal soon and a better 2022–very best to you!