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.
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.