Two months of quarantine due to the Corona Virus. It's hard to believe it's been that long.
It seems like forever yet at the same time it feels like yesterday that reality sunk in.
The reality that I would not be attending my Orange Theory classes bright and early every morning.
The reality that many of our agency clients were cancelling events, projects and needing us to help them pivot immediately.
The reality that I would quickly turn into mama bear and find ways to keep our fridge and pantry full with meat, veggies and fun food for the kids.
The reality that each day brought a mixed bag of crazy emotions, no matter how much I tried to remain calm, cool and collected.
The reality that no matter what happened I had to be and remain strong for my kids, hubby, friends, family and clients.
The reality that I had no idea how the future would look.
60 days ago I didn't know how good normal felt.
We quickly got use to being at home. The introvert side of me enjoys my alone time and at first took refuge in this time to find myself again. I also quickly learned how much of an extrovert I really am.
Trips to the grocery store started to feel like a luxury. Finding actual food, sanitizer, paper towels and healthy food was a triple bonus.
As the media started to scare us more and more, my trips to the store were minimized. Once a week adventure to the grocery store became the highlight of my week… seriously.
I began to lose myself!
Over time it got worse. As the masks came on, I started to lose myself.
I would visit the grocery store and come home saddened. I've never been one to struggle with depression. However, I started to notice a trend.
The days I didn't work out coupled with a visit to the grocery store wearing my mask, I noticed my thoughts starting to get negative. They would stay negative for at least a few days until I worked hard to pull myself out.
Going to the grocery store was no longer fun.
I think it was the reality of the masks. The “eeby jeebies” I feel as I walk into a store and see people in masks, made reality hit. It made me leave the shell of safety we have been blessed to create in my home.
It wasn't until one day a few weeks ago I was in my favorite Publix grocery store in Orlando, Florida that I realized the root of my problem with going to the grocery store.
One of my favorite produce team members at Publix said to me “I miss your smile.”
He pulled down his mask and I pulled down my mask and we said hi to each other.
At that moment I realized I was missing the human connection and communication we have via one simple body part… our smiles.
Here's the thing. I have what some may call a “Karen” hair cut. I am only 5'2″ tall, blonde and have an angled bob. If you don't know what a Karen hair cut is, just google it and pick your meme flavor.
Covid19 has made me realize my smile is what I use to communicate to the world that I am different. That I care. That I listen. That I like to laugh. That I want to know them. That I am there for them.
I work hard in my life to NOT be a “Karen.” Without my mask people do not see the part of me I now know defines me physically more than anything else…. my smile.
Thank goodness for daily Zoom calls with our clients that kept me connected to the spirit of humanity via laughs, smiles and love. As I put on my fancy top and my leggings (business on the top, party on the bottom), I'm happy to connect with clients each day to make a difference in this world for the audiences we serve.
The masks took away our smiles.
Corona virus has stolen our most valued communication, which is the beauty of a smile.
Without my smile and without seeing other people's smile we lose the connection with strangers.
We lose that moment of “we are okay… we'll get through this together.” Instead as we look at each other, we are reminded the reality of the pandemic we are all stuck with for the time being.
As I started to look at people with and without masks it made my heart hurt. Sometimes the people with masks looked scared. Sometimes they looked mad. Sometimes they were just there. The truth was I couldn't tell how they felt as I couldn't see or feel their smile.
I have noticed myself looking people in the eyes less. I think this is because I don't want them to think I'm mean. I'm missing my ability to truly communicate with them through such a simple way as a smile.
I am a highly empathic person. I can usually feel what is happening in a room the minute I walk into it. Seeing people's sad eyes and not being able to see their smiles or lack there of makes my heart hurt. It makes me feel afraid. It makes me excited to get back to the shell of safety in our home.
I recently ventured into a local Dollar General store to find some cleaning supplies. I didn't wear a mask. As I walked in the store I saw two older people abruptly move far out of the way from me with fear. It was at this moment I realized I did not want to put fear in others because I chose not to wear a mask.
I have worn a mask almost every time I have went to the store. I don't do it for me. I do it for you.
If you ever see me out and about feel free to pull down your mask and smile at me. I'll do the same.
I miss your smile. :)