I like wearing masks

In this series of op eds, students reflect on how the past year has affected them.


H.C., Guest Writer

Everyone always talks about how much they hate wearing masks, sometimes they can be bothersome. For example, when you leave your house and lock the door but remember you left your mask on the kitchen counter and have to go back to get it. There’s also those times where your mask makes it harder for you to breathe. However, we overlook the negatives for the sake of the greater good. To keep ourselves and everyone around us safe and healthy. Either way, at first I didn’t like them either. I used to think they were inconvenient and always in the way. I constantly forgot them and also didn’t know how to wear them properly, but that’s another story.

Over time, I realized how much I actually like wearing masks. Not only for the typical, up-front reasons, like health benefits, etc. although I do enjoy not getting sick as often. I like to wear masks because I think of them as more of a ….. defense mechanism. I like to use masks to cover my insecurities, like a shield or barrier from my face and the rest of the world. I’ve always been insecure about my face. Well, not always, more like since I was 10 or 11 years old when I started to care about what people thought of me. I’m insecure about my nose because it’s not small or straight or sloppy. I’m insecure about my teeth because they’re crooked and my family can’t afford braces to fix them. Once I hit puberty, a new insecurity was added to the equation, acne. I thought acne was supposed to be normal, and that everyone had it, but everyone around me had clear and perfect skin, unlike me.

Most of my acne is concentrated around my cheeks and chin, and I started wearing make-up throughout high school to cover it up. Makeup made me feel better about myself, knowing that people didn’t know how bad my problem was. Wearing a full face of make-up to school became a habit. I got used to waking up an hour earlier than I would normally need to to get ready. I covered my redness, dark spots, and blemishes. I felt different, a little better, but my acne scars still showed through. No matter what I did, they didn’t go away. I tried going to a dermatologist, but that was little to no help. I wish every day for my scars to be gone, but every day they are still there.

For some, acne scars may not be a big deal, but they have such a big impact on my confidence and self-esteem. As I started to wear masks, I realized that people couldn’t tell how many scars I had on my face, or how big my nose is or how crooked my teeth are. The world can’t tell if I’m happy or sad, or even if I have bad breath. Anyone I’ve met in the past year most likely doesn’t know what the bottom half of my face looks like, and I prefer it that way. I don’t feel the need to wear makeup everywhere I go anymore. Even then, sometimes I still catch myself covering my acne underneath my mask. That’s a part of me that still needs to heal from within.

I wonder what life is going to be like once we don’t have to wear masks anymore. Everyone is so used to being covered up, it’s going to be a big change. I know I’ll no longer have an excuse to cover my face. I know I have to learn to accept myself. As we stop wearing masks, my journey to self-love will start. I believe that everyone should be comfortable in their own skin, I’m just not at that point yet. I’ll walk into this experience with my head up and I hope I do get to a point where I’m 100% happy with myself. But as of now, I love wearing my masks.

H.C. is a guest writer who is a student of Ms. Lonnecker.