The Masks We Wear - Allie

The Faces we Wear

We all wear different faces throughout the day and yes, I realize I sound like that commercial on TV.… And no, I am not selling or endorsing any medicine of any sort.

They have a good point, especially now that we have all been somewhat homebound for the better part of a year with no end in sight.

We have our home face: the I’m happy, uplifting, kid face on. You take a quick break to help teach your children in virtual assignments or entertain them. You prepare lunches, dinners etc… all while trying to meet deadlines and get those hours in as the company can see and track your access to their servers virtually.

On your Zoom meeting we may be half dressed, and hair partially made, a little makeup slapped on, but that is all cosmetic. Underneath it all your mind is going 100 different directions whilst you listen, you respond and you keep your office game face on. Intent to show little to no queues: your personal thoughts on any subject blocked, your political face shows no inner judgment on the subject matter as that will be handled separately and quietly, you fulfill your role.

You have your face you show to your acquaintances; the selfie pics you post on Facebook, and Instagram: the happy family, the fun of teaching the kids, and family dinners, always pleasant and “special memories”. On the inside you are worn out, frazzled, the kids are about ready to make you pull out your hair, and the spouse is on your last nerve.

If you are like me, after a few hours of trying to read, or looking at emails, my short hair that was once flat is standing on end. I have run my hand straight up my face and into my hair so often that I closely resemble Beaker of the Muppets.

Instead of having the hairy meetings that go on all day and the never-ending workload, I have a never-ending illness. Those that know me closely have seen the bad days. I have hair standing up, no shower, I do my best to just change clothes during the day so I don’t feel as if I am living in bed. I wake mentally going down a checklist and wondering: can I move without pain and what is stretchable, will I be able to walk or will my feet curl up as claws, or will there be some new and scary surprise for me today?

I put on a face to the public as happy, hair done, makeup on, smile, same as the rest of you. Behind the mask, I am cringing, holding my breath as a sudden cattle prod electrical shocks radiate along my entire right side overwhelming me: sucking in a quick breath, trying not to let out a moan or a little cry. I have a much shorter fuse than I used to, my thoughts are vicious and cut to the bone. Finally, aware of this problem, I work hard to keep a mental gate shut tightly, as I don’t want to subject my loved ones to this verbal barrage. Unfortunately not all masks can you remove…..

Finding the time to remove the masks and just be ourselves is crucial. Be alone with your thoughts. Share your innermost thoughts with your best friend, mate/partner or even a therapist. Seek out that happy place where you can forget about the world: a good soaking tub with a glass of wine, a long run, workout, maybe kayaking, whatever floats your boat. LOL

Realize and prioritize, personal time is important and balance must be found. Without the rest, your fuse gets shorter, and family life, work, and your mental health all suffer.

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