Day 24 – Face Masks

If you’ve been following along since my last post in 2017— welcome! You’ve now stumbled upon a sort of live journal that may last a few days or much longer depending on the day or week. Right now, these are my quarantine chronicles from a therapist turned educator living in Brooklyn. If you’re new here— welcome! You can suscribe on my homepage and posts will to go directly to your email.

Today my goal was to take it easy and to tackle homemade fabric masks, rather than sit and worry about not having them (which, if you are— totally normal). I personally find that being weighed down by this collective trauma (or any previous anxiety and depression) means that something that normally “seems small” can be much much harder to do. That could be anything from brushing teeth to making a meal.

I digress— today, I had a spark of energy and used the CDC guidelines to try out different fabric masks. I’m avoiding buying the real kind to save them up for frontline workers who need them the most (Gahh the fact that they don’t have the right PPE makes me want to scream on a daily basis).

Fabric Masks

Verdict: They turned out okay. Having a few on hand doesn’t make me feel invincible in any sort of way, because I know the reality is they are only  marginally useful. But I want to do my part and it makes feel slightly better about taking those night walks or a trip to the laundry room. These need to be washed after every use so there will be more trips down there in my future (Okay fine– more trips for A who graciously has taken on this terrible chore for me. What a guy).

I’ve been reflecting a lot on the inequity inherent in who gets to comfortably wear masks and who is stigmatized and in danger by wearing them.

As a WOC passing as a white women, I may look funny with a misshapen mask, but I can waltz outside and mainly worry about the virus and not that I’ll be stopped on the street or treated with general suspicion or fear.

Before the CDC recommended the use of face masks, there was and still is a lot of racism and prejudice towards Asians, and in particular those who wore face masks far before this began. I read reports that people were verbally abused, attacked, and looked down upon. This article “Coughing While Asian” highlighted the rise in attacks in conjunction with Trump’s rhetoric.

It doesn’t end there. I stumbled upon this tweet below by Aaron Thomas. There is deep racism in this country and I’m not going to pretend that I’m on the expert on it.  Instead, I want to uplift Aaron Thomas’ experience. If you want to learn more– he wrote an article explaining why he feels unsafe.

IMG_1936 The dilemma minorities have to face is real. To be clear, long before this pandemic began.

I am using these reads to took a good honest look at my own unconscious bias.  A few weeks ago when I was able to freely move about the city and take my typical hour subway commute each way, I had to check myself. Was I acting or thinking differently, just ever so slightly? Was I trying TOO hard to show I wasn’t racist? Did I react the same to every person coughing?

Y’all. This isn’t easy. I have my share of unconscious bias that I’m actively working on.

And as I cut my t-shirts and scrounge for elastics, my hands felt heavy knowing how differently everyone is experiencing this pandemic.

Everyone deserves to breathe safely.  To exist safely.


Be safe, my friends.






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