Masked Emotions

This is not the planned post that I was going to write, but I have just come across the blog Psyche Cafe that had the image of the book The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk MD on it. This is the next book on my list of books to buy, as part of my research to write my own story of healing, and so I diverted my attention away from writing, onto reading. It’s what we adoptees do, think of doing one thing and end up doing something else. Ask my husband.

I read “Adoption said, I’ll label this one as mine and handed me a mask. Don’t worry honey. It will stretch as you grow. Put it on. And keep it on. And we won’t talk of this……..I’ll tell you when it’s safe to take the mask off.”

And so I thought pensively about the mask that I may have been handed and worn for much of my life. I was often accused of being funny at inopportune moments. It was like I couldn’t tell what was comedy and what was tragedy. My brain had been wired differently to others. I laughed out loud at my sister’s funeral, as the ladies of a certain age discussed picking up an aerosol cannister thinking it was hairspray only to discover that pledge doesn’t hold the curls quite like swartzkopf does.

And so my mind wandered to what the world has been doing for the past year. Governments and society have been trying to tell us when to wear masks, and more poignantly, when we can take them off, and like the average adoptee, I have rebelled. They cajoled us with “face coverings” it didn’t need to be a mask, you just had to cover your face. Now as someone who has years of experience working on an infectious diseases unit in a past life, masks when an infectious disease is concerned are contaminated clinical waste, and are disposed of and sent for incineration, not scrunched up and put back in your pocket or handbag, nor is it worn under the chin when outside for ease of pulling back over the breathing orifices when required. If people could only see the mites that might be crawling on their skin, they may think about not cradling their chin with a chin warmer, before replacing over their nose and mouth, to breathe those microscopic critters in. I resisted, I resisited to wear a paper mask, and a cloth one, a glittery one or even one that turned itself into a necklace when not needed to cover the face. Thinking about it that might be preferable to perching it under the chin, I would need to see the risk assessments done on the two designs to compare.

No I resisited because the logic and science says that masks don’t work in a respiratory virus, and yet still the people wore them. Nor did it seem logical to introduce mask wearing when they did. We weren’t told to wear them at the beginning, although advised, we had the choice. I chose not to. Then after 3 months in the UK they told us we needed to wear them when going to the shops, it was mandated unless you had an exemption. I do. I have panic attacks when I think about putting a mask over my face. I wore a mask for many many years, I now chose to show the world the real Joy, maskless, smiling communicating with the whole of my face. Is my body keeping the score of the mask that it wore for years.

The mask of “put a brave face on, don’t let others see that you’re not coping”, whatever coping means. Can I still feel the imprint of that mask that I wore for so long? Is it imprinted on my Soul in the same way as the primal wound is imprinted on it? Recalled but not remembered. Now I so want to buy the book to see what Van Der Kolk MD has to say? Where’s my credit card? Is it hidden under the mask in my handbag, that I bought back in Summer 2020, just in case?

Blessings and Joy, Joy

PS Go check that blog out and read more of what Psyche Cafe had to say.

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