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

About Brandy Collins

Brandy Collins is a writer and public services advocate born and raised in the Bay Area. She is a 2019-2020 cohort graduate from the Maynard Institute for Journalism, a correspondent for Oakland Voices, a blogger and the funny one in numerous group chats. She is concerned with civic engagement and leadership development toward making public works more efficient for the people. Brandy is full of Scorpio magic and self-proclaimed Professional Aunty. Follow her on Twitter @gurl79 or Instagram @story_soul_collecter. View all posts by Brandy Collins →

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