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Mask it or Casket

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

by SABRINA RICHARD - December 12, 2020 - Turn up your nose, strike a pose, get your mask on.

Are you serious Westfield? There were two (TWO [2]) mask fundraisers from our school. We’ve been practicing since March. We’ve seen the statistics, so why do I still see the noses of students, teachers and admin alike?

In the early 2000s, people thought it was cool to wear their pants low to show off their boxers. This was called "sagging." In 2020, people think it is cool to wear their masks under their noses to show off an array of acne and nose hair. This is called "not being a decent human being."

To use a mask properly and effectively it is to be worn over BOTH the nose and mouth. The nose shouldn't be exposed to the elements, even if you are a mouth breather.

Now I get it, it is so hard to wear a mask for - at most - 7.5 hours in an air-conditioned school building. Try wearing multiple masks for 12 or 18-hour hospital shifts like the doctors who are risking their lives to help others. Try wearing the mask for a 40 hour work week like so many community members who are trying to provide for their family. So try wearing the mask properly for more than a 5-minute walk in the hallway or try wearing a ventilator when you catch Corona because of your own irresponsibility.

Is this a callout? No, this is a Lantern piece written by an angry teen who is fed up with this pandemic as much as any other opinionated student. I want my normal. I want my life back. I wore the mask. I socially distanced. I declined party invites, hangouts, dates - for the sake of stopping the spread of COVID. I did everything right, so why did everything go wrong?

While writing this, I was quarantined because of contact tracing. It’s hard for me to feel anything but anger and frustration towards the people around me who aren’t getting contact traced, who have had nothing canceled, and who still don’t wear masks properly. I did everything right, so why did everything go wrong?

I want my normal. I want my life back.

I want to return the black dress I had to buy for a virtual funeral. I want to go back to a time where Corona was a drink and masks were only worn by doctors in operating rooms. I want to go back to March when I was on my way to France with my friends, on my way to Nationals with my team, on my way to California to film. I want to go back to March where I got to be in the same classroom as A-K kids and see my teachers five days a week. I want to go back to a week ago and stop myself from coming into contact with someone who was COVID positive.

But I can't go back.

I can only go forward.

Even, in all of my anger and frustration, I still wear a mask. I love the masks! I’m not getting sick, I’m covering half my face (Checkmate, facial recognition software, I’m getting away with ALL the bank robberies), and they’re kind of stylish.

I’m the kind of student who gets sick at the beginning of the year. I always have some head cold that lasts from homecoming to finals week and I perpetually get January sniffles, but not this year! Back in March and April people were washing their hands so frequently that cold and flu rates were practically cut in half.

I like having the lower half of my face be a mystery. No double chin and I can highlight my eyes? Yes, please! I know a lot of people are suffering from mascne (mask-acne), and I’ve had my fair share of it, but by staying diligent with cleaning my face and washing my masks weekly, I’ve been able to combat the wretched pimples.

I can also match my outfit to my mask. It’s just another accessory that helps tie a look together. One of my favorite outfits is all-black, with red shoes. Now I can add a red mask and look super coordinated. The masks from the Speech and Debate fundraiser - the ones with the green trim - bring out the green in my eyes. I can even coordinate mask-wearing with my friends. Several times, we’ve all pulled up in Speech and Debate’s green masks with the white logo. Usually though, I wear a black mask - which makes me feel like Bucky Barnes or Katara - all while keeping the people around me safe.

I am in the minority with this opinion. A lot of people don’t like masks, but a lot of people also died from this virus.

I know wearing a mask won’t cure COVID, but it is a step in the right direction. I know wearing a mask will keep the people around me safe. I know wearing a mask makes me feel a little bit better about being able to one day have normal again.

You only get seven years to be a teenager. I’ve lost one to the virus and will probably lose another, but, more importantly, I’ll let someone else be a teen all seven years. More importantly, I’ll let someone who is high risk live another 70 years. More importantly, I’ll let others be safe.

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