The bright side of wearing a mask: No one tells me I should smile

Oakland Voices asked our correspondents about their experiences since being forced to wear face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are days when I’m walking and it feels harder to breathe while wearing the mask. My mind will race and think “Do I have it now? Did I take enough precautions? Or is it just really hard to breathe with the mask on?”

Brandy Collins

Before I take a walk to the grocery store, I tie on the mask. 

As I’m walking, I see many of my Oakland neighbors taking similar walks in pairs and threes. 

This is a strange new reality. I’ve seen this on the news in other countries before, but I didn’t think I would ever live it.  There was a certain privilege that feels foreign in thinking about those moments. I only see eyes now. 

Somethings different though. When I walk past, people give more space. Some of them step off the curb and into the street. There’s a cursory head nod of acknowledgement.  

While the mask makes it so much easier to hide, we can see each other. 

There is a bright side: I no longer hear someone tell me that I should smile

There are days when I’m walking and it feels harder to breathe while wearing the mask. My mind will race and think “Do I have it now? Did I take enough precautions? Or is it just really hard to breathe with the mask on?” It’s the latter, but that doubt is there all the time. 

There is a bright side: I no longer hear someone tell me that I should smile

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