A Smile Behind the Mask
We wear a mask today to keep those we love, or do not even know, protected.
A virus is to blame; it sparked a new normal where a mask was selected.
A world upside down, we really did not know who could be infected.
A few weeks in shelter, then a few more, were expected.
After weeks of caution, I returned to work with mask in hand,
Expectations were low, but spirits remained grande.
The first week as uneventful, largely went as planned.
The second week I met so many new people, but felt I had been dealt a shorthand.
Anxiety, sadness, and a pit of doubt started to build inside me.
How many more months would this go on? One, two, three?
Work was going smoothly but moral felt like it was taking a knee.
Then I realized that we were impeded behind a mask, I needed free.
The next week instead of hiding behind a wall,
I started to put up my picture standing nice and tall,
"This is me without a mask", I would call.
People around me, intrigued, followed my curve ball.
To give you some context, I started my new job in early Spring.
I have never seen the majority of my colleagues faces, and that sting(s).
I'm shy but I enjoy what interacting with people bring(s),
able to read emotions, its kind of my thing.
Talking to someone is hard with only half of their face,
Even with full hearing ability, listening at pace,
I rely heavily on lip reading, even though it's not a brace.
Lip reading reveals a lot about someone's natural grace.
This week I headed back, determined to make a positive impact,
Motivated to be myself behind the mask, even in the abstract.
During presentation of my research, I decided to joke about a fact.
The joke, insanely corny, left me on the stage intact.
My colleagues laughed, I could hear them chuckle.
I am relieved, otherwise I'd speed off campus without the seat buckle.
Then I noticed something that couldn't be masked.
A smile, ear to ear, could be seen from behind my colleague's mask.
I revealed humanity.
I saw my colleague without seeing them.
Sincere happiness ran through me as I connected with the people next to me.
I may not know you, but I see you.
I see you behind whatever is masking your problem.
Your problem may be different than mine in direction, but not in magnitude.
I may not be able to read your lips, but I can hear you.
- Behind every mask there is a face, and behind that is a story.
- If you wear a mask long enough, you begin to forget who you are underneath it.
- We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be.
-There are 3 types of masks: the one we think we are, the one we really are, and the one we have in common.