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Why I Wear My Mask

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I live in a place where not everyone is sold on masks. It’s not like New York City where people want to wear masks because nearly everyone has either had this virus or seen a loved one have it. I live in Wisconsin where open farmland stretches between every big city. There’s a lot more space and less people so the case numbers don’t look so bad on paper. You’d think that it would only push people to wear masks in the bigger cities…nope. I guess I never really had to think about why I wear my mask.

People DON’T Wear Masks?

I’m not going to trash Wisconsin too much in this post. There’s too many die-hard Badgers on all of my social media feeds. Also, it’s still the place that I call home. Milwaukee and Madison make up a huge percentage of the State’s population which tend to be very liberal parts of the state. Smaller counties tend to be more conservative with far less people. There’s obvious outliers like cities with big universities or one’s that are closer to the Illinois border, but you generally see those liberal vs. conservative trends throughout the state. Living in two fairly liberal counties for all my life, I always thought that Wisconsin was split. Then, I started to go up north.

After we all took COVID tests, self-quarantined, and bought enough hand sanitizer to fill a bathtub, my friends and I went to an AirBNB in Somerset, Wisconsin. It’s a tiny little town near the Minnesota border. I would definitely consider it “up north” even if my friends would laugh at me. 

The most outrageous P. Diddy party that you’ve ever seen. We know. But, we got swabs up our nose for this so cut us some slack.

While I’ve been buying disposable masks for my car and researching where to buy good hand sanitizer, I would bet money that half the residents of these small towns didn’t even think to buy one yet. In small town Wisconsin, the threat of a pandemic truly hadn’t brought stress to their everyday lives – not because they couldn’t see it on their TV or weren’t worried about their families, but because they hadn’t necessarily seen it with their own eyes yet.

Why DO We Wear Masks?

As humans, empathy can be hard. We have to watch our role models care about things that might not directly be affecting them. We feel sad when mommy cries even if we have no idea what’s going on. As we grow up, we’re really angry that our friend got bullied on the playground, even if it wasn’t us. We learn that the actions toward others and of others can affect us. Enter global pandemic and perfect opportunity for us to show our empathetic sides!

My sweet friends, Megan and Nathan, have put masks on their children since March. Their kids are a whopping 2 years old and 3 years old (he would tell you he’s about to be 4 and he wants an ankylosaurus for his birthday). They know that taking their children into public places, like a quick Target run, does not guarantee anyone in their house safety. They know that the little piece of fabric covering their child’s face doesn’t protect against everything. They’ve taught their children, however, that masks are what superheroes wear to keep everyone else safe.

Photo credit: Nicodemas Nimmo

They know that they have to wear their masks to keep others safe. So, those little babes and my sweet friends teaching them empathy are why I wear my mask. Because if toddlers can wear masks for a grocery run to keep other people safe, my grown 23-year old ass can.

I Wear My Mask Because…

I wear my mask to keep people like my grandma safe. That little lady has spent the better part of 5 months in her house with only a couple adventures to the outside world. As someone who is extremely high risk, my grandma and other people’s grandparents are braving it to get their errands done. I wear my mask to do whatever possible to keep them safe!

I wear my mask for my amazing hair dresser. I’ve been seeing her for years. Even if I wasn’t picketing with signs about it, my roots were looking pretty rough in quarantine. I’ve done enough hair treatments to sing “Beauty School Dropout” as my theme song. Truthfully, I will be adding those Shea moisture products (here are the ones I use) as a source of amazing self care long after COVID, but a girl needs some stylist attention too! Her business and clients are a livelihood that she depends on for financial security and her own sanity. I wear my mask to keep her safe so that she can snuggle her grandkids on the days she has off. If I want to enjoy the luxury that is going to get my hair done, I can prioritize health in that process.

I wear a mask for my immunocompromised friends who’ve already had a hard go at life. I’ve watched some take their blood sugar before we go out and give themselves insulin. Some have lost a ton of muscle mass just trying to figure out what they could eat. Others can’t even go a week without having a fever. I wear a mask for my friends with asthma, allergies, and colds. Those who normally feel fine but wouldn’t be okay I exposed them to something.

I Wear My Mask Because I’m a Superhero

At the end of the day, I wear a mask for me. I wear a mask because it sends the message that I want to send out into the world. It says that I care about others – that I’m empathetic to their health, well-being, and lives. It shows that I will do what’s in my power to end this weird period of pandemic. I wear a mask to set an example that it’s the “cool” thing to do even though I’m surprised it’s a discussion. I wear a mask because I’m a superhero and they always help others.

Why do you wear YOUR mask? Tell me using the links to any of the socials below! I want to hear your story!

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