Behind the mask

Until recently, former Herm resident Maya George thought a face mask was merely a skin care treatment. Now living in England, where the beauty staple’s fabric namesake has now been made compulsory in enclosed public spaces in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19, she can’t help but miss those simpler times...

MY TOILETRY drawer is full of face masks.

Scented ones, moisturising and cleansing ones and one of those mysterious ones that warms up when applied to your face – I’m saving that one for a special occasion.

But masks that work wonders on your face are now a thing of the past.

When I hear someone mention a face mask, my mind no longer drifts to the oddly appetising display of natural products at Lush or the growing collection in my drawer. Rather, I remember the fabric Winnie the Pooh mask in my room, folded and ready to be worn when I visit the shops and hairdressers.

Gone are the days when I could look longingly at the bargain face masks in Superdrug without being reminded of an ongoing pandemic.

Now, whenever I catch a glimpse of a face mask in my room, I sigh and wish they were given an alternative name. Perhaps moist face coverings? Scented gloop for the pores? There needs to be a distinction.

This is obviously a projection of my unhappiness at the pandemic and I am looking to blame an inanimate object. Neither form of face mask has done anything wrong; one saves lives and one saves skin, but I have decided to direct my frustration towards face masks because, well, I might as well blame something.

One thing I will refrain from, however, is refusing to wear a face mask or covering when out and about.

Maya George (28526207)

The introduction of the new law in the UK, which requires everyone to wear face masks/coverings in a variety of places such as shops, is a decision that was made too late. But, before I dive into a political debate, I have learnt that lockdown is about more than face mask debacles.

A few weeks ago, I went out for a run. I decided to swap my daily workout for a run to spice things up a bit. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best idea but I felt good once my heartbeat returned to an average rate. I had just run up a particularly steep hill and was staggering along the pavement when a man, also on his morning run, ran past me, smiled and said ‘Keep going, you’re doing well!’. Little did that man know that his encouraging comment gave me a vital confidence boost and has provided me with an unforgettable lockdown memory.

The way I like to look at it is that not everything that has happened in the past few months has been negative. Admittedly, I wish I was in coronavirus-free Guernsey right now. I long to dip my toes in the cold, crystal clear sea and meet up with friends. But I can’t. Instead, I am looking towards what has made my lockdown experience positive.

Spending time in my new home has been a blessing in disguise.

I have discovered new walking routes, visited hidden treasures in the city and have improved in the workplace from the comfort of my desk at home.

At night, I have watched the sunset melt behind the trees outside my bedroom window and have caught up on lost time with my parents and dog. In the spring, I waved at my family two plus metres away from me, just happy to be able to see them after so long apart.

I baked (not banana bread – solely quality cake). My oldest friend held a virtual cocktail party for my birthday. I laughed with my hairdresser through my Winnie the Pooh mask. I connected with friends virtually. I went on a socially distanced picnic with local friends, and much, much more.

Most days have been spent working, doing college work and feeling frustrated at the small cycle of life I am living in.

But even at my lowest points I think about what I have gained during the pandemic rather than what I have lost.

This is no mean feat and a battle I am constantly fighting.

So far, 2020 is the antithesis of what I wanted it to be, but perhaps it is the year I needed it to be.

Our situation may be doom and gloom (I work in the news industry now, so I see it first-hand) but the kindness of people such as the man I encountered on my run has certainly prevailed.

‘Normal’ face masks may be a thing of the past, but the kindness and compassion of the human race is most certainly the future.

Top Stories

More From The Guernsey Press

UK & International News