Mask Anxiety Is Real. Let’s Talk About It.

When I was a baby, I hated pacifiers. My parents say that the moment they put one in my mouth, I’d spit it across the room. My mom claims I could make those pacifiers fly far. Olympic gold medal far (or maybe my head is getting a bit big in considering my supposed infant capabilities). My parents gave up trying with the pacifier eventually. There was no way I was keeping one in my mouth.

Little Britta circa her pacifier spitting out days

I’ve been thinking about infant-Britta’s dislike of pacifiers a lot lately. It’s a useful comparison to the present. Why? Because upon donning a mask in these pandemic days, I usually find myself angrily desiring to tear it off my face and scream out my disgust as I fling it across the room in a way that is only socially acceptable in young children throwing temper tantrums. To put it bluntly, I hate masks. I don’t say that in a playful, “this is a mildly uncomfortable hatred but I’ll take one for the team” kind of way. Nope. This is full blown, anger fueled hatred. I despise masks. I loathe masks. In the days of COVID-19, I want to f-ing burn all the masks. Even the cute homemade ones. #sorrynotsorry cute homemade mask makers. I don’t discriminate in my hatred.

I’ve been trying to grapple with this anger in the past few weeks, because I know enough about psychology to know that anger is usually a mask–no pun intended–for deep pain. I’m not a licensed psychologist, mind you, so please don’t take my armchair psychology as gold. I am, however, a teacher, and I do think that gives me some brownie points in Basic Understanding of the Human Psyche 101.

So yes, I hate masks. And I’m angry about masks. And last weekend, as I donned my required mask before heading into the grocery store, my anger abruptly dissolved into full blown anxiety as I started hyperventilating…

Continue reading “Mask Anxiety Is Real. Let’s Talk About It.”

I’m in a Complicated Mess Called Love and I’m Okay With That

Earlier this semester, my Understanding Writing class was assigned to write literacy autobiographies. Basically, we could write about whatever we wanted as long as we discussed our own personal experiences as writers. We were challenged to approach this assignment differently than we usually approach academic writing assignments, but other than that, the requirements were pretty limited. We went through our rough drafts in small groups and then, after being given a week to revise those rough drafts (where I took the opportunity to rewrite my entire paper) we posted our final drafts on Google Drive for everyone in the class to read and respond to.

I chose to write my literacy autobiography with a lot more freedom than usual. In fact, the final draft looks a lot more like one of my blog posts than any formal writing assignment I’ve ever written. With that freedom came more of my personality and more of my personal experiences. I got really personal in my literacy autobiography. In their comments on Google Drive, a couple of my classmates commended me for how courageous I was to write so openly about these personal aspects of my life. They called me brave to touch on these subjects at all.

As much as I appreciate the positive responses I got about my literacy autobiography, I don’t see myself as brave for writing what I did. I was just being honest. To write my literacy autobiography without those personal aspects of my story would not have been honest and in my Continue reading “I’m in a Complicated Mess Called Love and I’m Okay With That”