Young woman wearing a white medical mask

In the name of safety and protecting those around me from COVID-19, I readily accepted the mask mandates in 2020 and have gotten pretty comfortable with them since. But maybe… a little too comfortable?

I like to dabble in the occasional anime and other pieces of Asian culture. I would be lying if I didn't say a secret side of me was slightly excited that South Australians would have to wear face masks in public after the pandemic took off. I could finally add this Japanese-esque accessory to my wardrobe without standing out like a sore thumb.

COVID-19 rules have been changing perpetually and now mask mandates have been largely dropped in many locations. At this point into the pandemic, I find I'm asking myself, "am I really ready for the masks to come off?"

I've had bad blood with my self-esteem and physical appearance before, and my mask has started to serve as a security blanket. Every time my mask comes down for a quick sip of coffee, there's always a twinge of self-consciousness, of paranoia that someone walking past saw me and thought, "Oh, she looks like that?" My mask goes back on as quickly as I take it off. I'm even still wearing my mask outdoors where it's not needed at all.

It would be no surprise to me if, since masks are not now required everywhere, many people find themselves struggling to show their face again. Pair a mask with a set of headphones and sunnies, and we can find ourselves largely psychologically removed from our physical environments. It's important to remember that we still give ourselves the self love we deserve and constantly remind ourselves that we are beautiful as we are unmasked. We don't need to hide half of our face to appear more attractive.

While still being mindful of those who are vulnerable to the virus around me, I've been telling myself it's still important for me to practice showing my face and being okay with it. I want to be comfortable with my face and how I look.

Have you asked yourself the same question or been struggling with masks coming off?

Tagged in What messes with your head, coronavirus, covid