strong black woman mask – Randi B.

At about 4:00PM, I realized that I had not started dinner but most importantly, I did not have, want or had the energy to chop, diced or stand over the stove to prepare dinner before my husband got home. My go-to meal when I am in this mood is a delicious rotisserie chicken from my local grocery store and bagged salad, placed on the plate, like I did it myself (smile). It is quick, easy and always turns out great. As I parked my car and hustled inside the market, I am not sure why but I was taken aback by all of the “masked” face shoppers that I saw (I am very appreciative, that in my area – everyone is  complying with wearing a mask). For some reason, I had an overwhelming sense of sadness as I pushed my cart to gather my items that this is our “new normal”. As I walked thru the Market, I could not see any smiles on faces only a mask of what is to come.

On Friday or Saturday nights when it comes to our Family movie selection, I seem to always get beat out. My idea of a weekend movie night is a great heart wrenching romantic movie….OK, we don’t have to go as far as the Hallmark Holiday movies, which by the way, I am that Chick that watches them from November to the end of December. But my husband and daughter seem to always select a Zombie movie or some apocalyptic dooms day movie where the cast, who is is dire need of a hot shower and shampoo/condition treatment, spend the entire movie raiding the now empty super markets and fighting zombies or some alien that wants to take over our world. I say all of this to say I miss seeing smiling faces along with all the other simple things that unfortunately we took for granted like the summer concerts, eating out, travel. etc.

But what it really made me think about is the Mask that we wear daily. The mask that “I am well” when really we are screaming with every fiber that we can muster that we feel alone and sometimes it it too much to bear. We wear the mask of trying to compete with the “social media lives” of our “so called’ Facebook or Instagram friends, which by the way is shot with a lot of filters – which is just another term for masks. What about the mask of hiding dark secrets of childhood abuse, date rape, not feeling that you are enough. I am guilty of wearing a mask to my former job, smiling in the endless meetings, when really I could see myself literally walking out, throwing files on the conference table as Johnny Paycheck sings loud and clear “You can take this job and shove it” but instead I worked for a paycheck so that I could have all of those “things that is SUPPOSE to make me happy” instead of actually enjoying my life and family. The mask of “If I could only” lose weight, make more money, live in a certain neighborhood, have the right friends….that maybe, just maybe, everyone else would THINK I am enough.

It is time for us to remove all of the masks and show our faces. If you need help, call a trusted friend or a professional to seek help. Mental health is so important and especially today even with our precious children that may not understand or how to verbalize what is going on. I am not afraid to say that I get a little depressed sometimes, when I see the tally of the deaths that keep rising from Covid-19, racial unrest, unemployment and families on the breaking point of having to swallow their pride and ask for help for food and money due to the unemployment from Covid-19. The Moms and Dads that are homeschooling their kids, they are challenged with the unknown of how to ensure that their children will receive the proper education. When will this be over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let’s not even get on the topic of the upcoming Presidential elections and the postal service debacle. Sometimes I have to turn off the news – take a deep breath, pray, meditate, read a great book and listen to music to find my way back to me.

Let’s be brave and start to peel away the mask.

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