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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Masking Your Face and Facing Your Mask

Jun 29, 2020 03:06PM ● By Shauna Smith
Yesterday, an unkempt, wild-haired gentleman rang the studio doorbell. I opened the door and welcomed him in. He refused. Wearing a worn out old surgical style mask, he held out a flimsy “Thank You” grocery bag at arm’s length and asked me to drop his mask order into it. “You can’t be too careful!” he said. He had been quarantining alone for over two months and it was time to get out for some groceries. At just past 80, he knew he had many years of life ahead of him, if he could dodge COVID-19.
His face and many others stay clearly in my mind. This mask thing is so new to all of us. At the studio, we have been wearing masks daily since we made the switch from teaching sewing to manufacturing masks. When a customer calls me in the evening to ask me why the mask she bought from us feels so soft and comfortable at times and at other times it feels like sandpaper on her face, I get it. I feel the same way. We talk about laundry detergents and skin care routines that could help. Then she asks why the mask is so easy to breathe through most of the time, but when she walks into a place like Home Depot, suddenly, she cannot breathe? I hear her. I tell her how sometimes, when I am feeling nervous or flustered, I will get a heat rash on my face under my mask. We laugh at ourselves.
Big John, a biker, shows up for his first fabric face mask. He picks out a black and red bandanna print. We show him how to put it on. He gets it situated and looks at himself in the mirror. He mutters under his breath that he has “always wanted something like this” and then he turns around and scoots out the door, ready to face the world in his new mask.
A bejeweled woman and her husband knock on the door to the studio. She inquires about our masks. Thrilled by our selection, she begins to fill up her shopping bag. Her husband shakes his head and sits down on the chair by the door. She has been starved of shopping during quarantine and, because she is a smart and caring woman, our mask shop was her first stop before heading out into the world.
A mask can be a muffler. It can be aggravating and painful. It can be a reminder of sadness. It can be a gateway to a new personality. It can also be a fun game. A mask is a little piece of fabric shaped in a certain way to fit a face. The color and print you choose starts your journey into the experience you will create for yourself while wearing it. It is such a simple little thing, but it represents so much. It represents caring for yourself and your community. It represents choosing faith over fear or ignorance.
By this time, most of us have a pile of masks sitting around. Ones made by friends, family, neighbors. Ones we attempted to make for ourselves. Masks bought from Amazon and Etsy. Masks found in the garage or the toolbox. If none of your masks feel comfortable or right, you are not alone. They may never feel that way. Thank you for wearing one anyways. The sooner we all start wearing them regularly, the sooner we all can stop wearing them.

Shauna Smith, CIC makes face masks at a sewing studio in Tucson. Connect at See ad, page 17.

NAK Face Masks - Tucson AZ

NAK Face Masks - Tucson, AZ

CDC compliant 2-layer woven cotton face masks. Revolutionary single strap design stores around your neck like a necklace. Curved shape hovers over the mouth. Stays in place on your face. ... Read More » 


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