Look at Me from the Side. Does My Mask Look Big?

When people were recommended to start wearing masks, I noticed an article on some news media outlet about Nancy Pelosi and her color-coordinated masks. Now, if anyone wants to make this blog about politics and how wearing masks is blah blah blah or not wearing masks is blah blah blah and all those bad politicians…then you need to just move on and go away. This post is not about politics. This post is about my mask collection. And I am not in the mood to hear anyone’s rantings about anything.

And if you want to test me, I’m wearing throwing shoes. So don’t test me.

So, I thought it was kind of funny (don’t know why…I just did) that Nancy Pelosi had this mask collection that would match her outfits. I’m struggling just to find a mask and she’s already got a wardrobe filled with them (excuse the hyperbole). About this point, my parents had flown back to Germany for their six months of hiking, and I begged them to send me masks from the places they were visiting.

Within a month, a package arrived. Within were two handmade masks. One was the Bavarian flag. The other was a deep blue background with a white lacy print and edelweiss flowers. And, all of a sudden, I wasn’t worrying about Covid or politics or blah blah blah. I had a bit of home that I could wear and just finally feel the funky edges of my funky personality coming out.

I hate wearing t-shirts with emblems and writing and logos across the chest. As a woman with a bit of a bosom, people reading anything written across my chest feels mildly invasive. I know that no harm is intended. But it’s really hard to blend into the background when my shirt has a massive logo on it. Or big words that are going across body parts that are already protruding from my body. On top of that, German fabric patterns can be very different from the American which means that I, a happy little introvert, has to really stand out in the crowd if I wear a T-shirt with a German cow and massive alps on it. With the Bavarian flag on it too.

Yeah. No thank you.

But masks? Now those I can wear. And if they are bright and colorful? Send them my way!

Oh, how I love my Bavarian flag and edelweiss masks. I get to walk around with my home on my face and no one is going to look at me funny. If anything, I get to flaunt my whackadoodle personality and do so with flair.

A couple weeks after my first two masks arrived, my parents sent me a mask that has fabric portraying Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. I love artwork. I love Klimt’s paintings because my mom loves them and I love my mom and so, naturally, I fell in love with Klimt too. The interior of that mask is soft and pillowy. It sucks for teaching because it really muffles my voice. But it’s soft warmth cushions my face and warms me.

And then I got my FC Bayern mask. Red with a tiny FC Bayern logo stitched in the top corner. This is my feisty, don’t mess with me mask. This is my “I’m taking you down if you piss me off” mask. If I went to political rallies, this is the mask I would wear. Only I’m independent. And they don’t have too many independent rallies. A friend of mine would say I’m indecisive. Which might be true. I’m not sure (ha ha ha!).

In rapid succession, I received four masks by the same company. Three had dachshunds. One dachshund wears traditional Bavarian hiking clothing and has the words GipfelSturmer on it. The next dachshund mask has the dog in a dirndl. Then the male counterpart in the lederhosen. And, finally, no dachshund, just Prince Ludwig. With a Bavarian flag backdrop. Interestingly enough, those four masks have garnered the most discussion. People love the dogs. They think Ludwig is Beethoven. Or Mozart. Or some important dude who does important art stuff.

Don’t care. He built a castle. It’s in the movies. You’ve seen it on puzzle boxes or calendars.

And then I had a cow mask arrive. Followed by a mask with a church against an alpine background. These are soft as well. These are masks that I wear when I need comfort, when I am worn out from endless emails and expectations that my time is consumable and that I really have all the time in the world to extend deadlines which are made of rubber bands after all. And, oh, did you hear the latest political news?

NO! No friggin’ politics!

When my parents were flying back from Germany, they had a layover in Amsterdam. Three more masks were purchased for me. One that is of the Amsterdam row houses along a canal done in a Delft blue and white style. The second is of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. And the third is a teddy bear face smiling. Watching my father wear the last one, the mask imploding and ballooning out with my father’s breathing made me laugh hysterically.

I am so exhausted and so overwhelmed and so worn out and so frayed that anything which can make me laugh like that is a welcome treat.

I am learning that Covid has drained us of our laughter. Covid has denied us the simple pleasures of living for life’s sake. I don’t care for wearing the masks. In my school, my classroom is on the third floor. Climbing Mount Everest on a daily basis while wearing a cotton mask is not high on my fun list. Having funky pimples because my skin stays slightly moist from teaching through a mask is also not high on my what I want to do with my life list.

But being able to wear a part of my life, of what I love…is very high on my list. I still need to buy the masks from Shakespeare’s Globe theater. I would like to find some that reflect writing. Not so much books. But writing. I want a mask that has the Appalachian Trail symbol on it.

Because those are aspects of who I am.

If anything. Covid has reminded me and taught me more about who I am. I am becoming a little more comfortable and confident in who I am. And, ironically, it’s come from wearing a mask. My masks have allowed me to continue to blend. And they have allowed me to stand out. In my silence, my masks speaks volumes for me. And my masked volume comfortably settles up against my chaotic soul.

So. Yeah. I am a mask wearer. It says a lot about me and what I love and who I am.

Now. If you’ll excuse me. It’s time for me to start looking for Dr. Plague masks. Halloween is just around the corner….I wonder if I can find one with a dolphin on it….

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