Masked Judgement

I’ve seen some disturbing things lately about wearing masks.

On one hand, people not wearing them are immediately labeled as Republicans, right-wing whack-jobs, people who think the COVID-19 virus is ‘no worse than the flu’, or standing up for their ‘constitutional rights’.

On the other hand, people who are wearing them are immediately labeled as Democrats, left-wing crazy liberals, paranoid over-reactors, and sheep.

In other words, damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

So let me tell you a mask story.

A few years ago I was lying on a table. A warm, soft, pliable mesh was placed over my face and neck, and pressed tightly into place. It was held there until it hardened. Imagine how that felt. If you can’t take two fingers and press them against your throat until you gag.

That was the first step in radiation treatments. Every morning I was on that table, the mask pressed over my face, and then bolted down. Because I was receiving very precise radiation, no movement was allowed. Even if you thought you were holding still enough, you weren’t.

Every day.

Eventually my throat swelled. Eventually I struggled to swallow water. And then eventually it was over.

At the time, I knew it was difficult, but during treatments themselves, I just daydreamed. I’m a pro at sliding off into my imaginary world. The staff gave me roses and a certificate afterwards for being the first person they’d had who was able to go through it without sedatives.

I convinced myself it wasn’t that bad. I truly believed that. It was hard, yes, but just something to get through one step at a time.

Now people are wearing masks. Stores require them. A co-worker brought me a package last week. I took one look at them, burst into tears, and had to leave the office because I couldn’t breathe. My throat closed up. I couldn’t swallow. I stood in the fresh air, telling myself over and over ‘you can breathe’.

My husband, being the brilliant man that he is, suggested I practice at home, putting the mask on as long as I could stand it and building up to being able to wear one. I tried that this morning. For maybe a second.

The flip side of this is that my husband has an auto-immune disease. So he wears masks out in public to protect himself. He has no problem wearing them and needs to.

In other words, when you see someone wearing a mask, or when you see someone not wearing a mask, there are more stories involved than simple judgements. More hardships involved than politics.

Please be kind, no matter where you fall in the spectrum of this virus specter.

8 thoughts on “Masked Judgement

  1. I wish more people than not would be kind. So much judgement and online hate going on… and there are definitely 2 camps that scream the loudest. I step away from both. Thank you for sharing your story Lisa. I am fully empathic to the ptsd you’re going through right now. We are so fortunate that we have the sublime ability to slip away into our mind, it serves us well.


  2. I do not wear a mask. I am neither rep or dem. My thought process is, they were not required at the worst of times (for most) keep your hands clean, keep the distance, do not touch your face. I feel like if I do that, I am good. The rules changed out of desperation of more people going out, the health people that be figured it was better than nothing and so {put a mask on! gloves too!] Now I feel like it is more-so a trend and not a real necessity. A statement. Another form of acceptance within a crowd. But, you know, I am doing the same without wearing one. Making a statement. So, I got issues. lol sorry for your ptsd concerning the mask, I fully understand. I would not have judged you, have you tried a loose-fitting ones? I do not like those medical ones, so stiff and sterile. If I really had to wear one, I would wear a fabric one, that was cute or had some kind of art on it, you can make your own pretty easy like. make it to “fit” 🙂 much love nto you.


    • I have seen people in a bobbin lace group that I am in, making masks with lace edgings. I tried a scarf this weekend, thinking it might be loose enough. I actually broke my record for how long I lasted before throwing up, which was about 10 seconds. I see that as an improvement. So something loose like that might be a mask I could work up to. But like you, I’m beginning to realize I don’t have to wear one. The stores that require masks on customers don’t have any products I can’t find elsewhere. And I’m realizing there are just too many other things to worry about than that. Like you, keeping hands clean, maintaining distance, not touching face. And being glad I don’t live in the city!


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