Wearing a Face Mask Helps Your Mental Health by Marquesa Lola

Wearing a Face Mask Helps Your Mental Health

By Marquesa Lola

Hello, my friends, this is Marquesa Lola reflecting again on ideas that pop up in my mind as I inch my way forward through life. Today, I want to talk about the concept of wearing a face mask as an act of kindness towards other human beings during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since Covid-19 has entered our lives, face coverings, social distancing, and constant hand washing have become essential, experts say. So, then, my question is: Why is there a revolt against face masks in some parts of our country? I am at a loss to understand this approach, and I am going to try to argue about it. 

First of all, until we get an affordable vaccine that works, we are reduced to utilizing three primary tools: face masks, social distancing, and hand washing. So what is the BIG DEAL about face masks? 

It seems people will not object to washing their hands; after all, we learn to do so from our parents since childhood. On the other hand, most people are OK with social distancing as people, in general, are very territorial about their personal space. At school, students are always encouraged to claim their own private space. However, I fail to understand why wearing a mask is our government’s infringement on our right to choose and on the liberties of our people. 

“To me, wearing a mask these days, though uncomfortable, is an act of kindness.”

In my mind, this argument lacks consistency in its essence, and I will disprove it by stating a simple analogy: the fact that we need to wear clothes while in public. If you walk naked while walking around downtown, you will be arrested. In this case, I have not heard anyone complaining about their right not to wear clothes. I can use the same argument about wearing a face mask during this pandemic. The reality is, in my opinion, that you have more freedom when you wear a mask because you are exercising an exclusive privilege to save lives. When you don’t wear your face mask, you make me feel vulnerable and insecure in my surroundings as I fear getting infected by you. Therefore, you are hurting my emotional being. 

To me, wearing a mask these days, though uncomfortable, is an act of kindness. I wake up every morning and prepare my running attire, which includes a face covering. I have many types of face masks. Some of the face masks I purchased from Amazon. They look like colorful scarves, and they match many of my outfits. Today, face masks come in different shapes and colors. They can be fashionable and colorful. Many of them, perhaps, are not adequate for all activities but you can choose to wear different ones for different occasions. If masks are here to protect us, let’s make the best out of them.

“Wearing my mask helps me model to other generations a sense of responsibility needed in this society.”

Wearing my mask helps me model to other generations a sense of responsibility needed in this society. It gives me the feeling that I am helping others stay healthy. In return, I find it very comforting when I see people wearing face masks during my daily run. I feel grateful to them because wearing a face mask, in today’s world, shows they care for others. 

When you wear a face mask, you demonstrate you have empathy for people who could potentially get infected by you. We must remember that even if we don’t feel sick, we could be asymptomatic and capable of spreading the virus to others. It is vital to me that you wear your face mask to protect me; it makes me think you care about me. I feel so happy when I see people wearing their face mask outside that I make a point to thank them for doing so. They usually feel grateful to me for acknowledging their effort. In return, I protect them by wearing my face mask to potentially save their lives.

We have to remember that we wear face masks to protect others, not ourselves, and that shows great care and strength of character. Subsequently, we should expect the same level of solidarity from the rest of the population. We must stop making this a political issue. Wearing a face mask is not a liberal or conservative issue. It is a health and safety issue and ultimately shows compassion, something that is not common these days in our world. I plan on printing and wearing a t-shirt to wear around. Its message, straightforward: I Wear a Face Mask to Protect You, Thank you for Wearing Yours to Save my Life. 

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COVID-19: Our Very Own “Science Fiction” Movie by Marquesa Lola

COVID-19: Our Very Own “Science Fiction” Movie

By Marquesa Lola

When I heard about COVID-19 back in December of 2019, I thought, that is “Science Fiction.” Not anymore. These days the word pandemia is mentioned every day in the media, on your zoom meetings with families and friends. Even at the supermarket. With COVID-19 you almost feel like you are inside a “Science Fiction” movie as you carefully and cautiously parade into the grocery store wearing face masks, gloves, and other protective gear. It looks and feels pretty scary.

In reflecting about my experience in confinement at home. I must admit that during the first few days or weeks living alone, I felt very stressed out. To minimize the stress, I tried to keep busy. I start activities that I’d not had the time to do during my busy regular teaching schedule. I start to paint, playing the piano, and assembling small pieces of furniture.

During the first three weeks, I divided my daily routine into sections. Exercise and breakfast, online teaching and lunch, hobbies and afternoon tea, and dinner and Netflix. However, the idea of confinement without the freedom to walk around the city sent signals to my brain. Once in a while, making me feel like a caged wild animal hence raising my stress level high peak.

During the fourth week, however there was a small transformation in the way I was experiencing my confinement. I began to accept the new situation and I started taking interest in new ways to communicate with my students and my friends. I learned about new technology platforms I had never heard of and I found the challenge very educational and rewarding. Teaching online and communicating with small groups of students via video conferencing has been successful in terms of targeting leveled groups of students more efficiently. 

We just began our 9th week of confinement and I realized how much I miss the direct contact with my students. I have not seen a person for a very long time. And if I have, it has been for no more than five minutes and at a six feet distance. The social distancing that I know is required to keep everyone safe, has proven to be the hardest and most unsettling consequence of this situation of confinement.

The idea of confinement… sent signals to my brain… making me feel like a caged wild animal.”

Yes, I believe that I can target students directly and they seem to be engaged in our online lessons. However, the fact that I can’t give them a pat on the back or a hug when they did something right is a high price to pay.

The question is- When will this be over? Like you, I am wondering when I will be allowed to go back to work, walk in the park, or dine at a restaurant. However, I believe our lives will not ever resume as if nothing had occurred. Mostly, I believe that the legacy of this crisis is here to stay for years to come changing the way we interact with each other. I am not only talking about technology, which has proven to be a great tool in this crisis, but also human to human interactions. 

I believe that the legacy of this crisis is changing the way we interact with each other.

In the future, I, personally, envision myself being cautious while interacting with others. To hug or kiss others and believe me, I love hugging my students, friends, and relatives as much as I need to be hugged and kissed by them. But the fear and trauma inflicted by COVID-19 has made me cautious. The consequences of this situation have proven to be very pricey. I am not sure how the “new normal” will look, but I am not very hopeful about our future. COVID-19 you are small, but you certainly have shaken our lives in a very short time. I will not forgive you!

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How I am Adapting and Learning to Co-Parent by Rei

How I am Adapting and Learning to Co-Parent

By Rei

One of the main reasons that I was hesitant to get a divorce was because of the idea of co-parenting. I didn’t want my children to get confused having different rules. At the time of my divorce, my kids were only 5 and 1. We went through many changes: new environments such as school, living place/area. It was a tough year, my kids and I were living in LA while my ex was living in Canada for work.

Since the kids were so young, I had to be with them every second. I was always extremely exhausted and many times I seriously thought I would not survive another day. I didn’t know how to ask for help.

My main focus was my kids not being sad. I made sure that they were always tired going to bed. With kindergarten ending at noon, we spent hours at the park every single day or arranged play dates. I am fortunate and grateful to have amazing people around me while I was going through the most difficult time. 

I am fortunate and grateful to have amazing people around me.”

The following year, their dad came back to the US. It was quite an argument in the beginning as he forgot how to take care of kids. And of course, we are different people. Though I personally don’t want to spend time with my ex, we spent many events together. I share pictures and videos for any missed events.  All for the kids. I want my kids to grow up with their dad since he wants to be around them. I have the role of the tough parent, and go through non-fun activities with them but that’s ok. We both express our love for the kids in different ways.  As kids are growing up, they have less physical care from parents; I think we came to the point that we no longer have much disagreement. (Hopefully!) I am also learning to ask for help. “Receiving is giving.”

“Receiving is giving.”

One thing I finally got from the divorce was appreciation from my ex. He always had something to say about my motherhood. I don’t need anyone’s approval. But I only wanted to be approved by him that I am a good mother.I guess because being a mom is not something that comes naturally to me. I have to put in extra work. He finally realized and saw that after the divorce. 

I don’t regret for one second getting divorced. I had held on to the idea of being ”married” and “family” for so long that I lost the true meaning of marriage and family. No matter what the relationship between my ex-husband and I is, we both love our children. 

“As long as they feel the love from us, I know they will be ok.”

I was always there for my kids. My kids always have happy drawings and their behaviors seem ok so far. They are both caring children. As long as they feel the love from us, I know they will be ok. 

After all, everything happens for a reason.

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My New Journey: Writing A Blog by Rei

My New Journey: Writing A Blog

By Rei

Writing a blog is just hard….at least for me. I had no idea how challenging this would be. 

When I was first approached with this opportunity, my reaction was “Why do I want to tell the world my life, especially things that I overcome?? You know that I am private.” Their vision was by sharing my story I could heal myself and others.

Never thought of that. I said “YES” immediately. It was unlike me. Something inside answered for me and told me that I had to go with the flow. This opportunity came for a reason. As I always say that everything happens for a reason. 

Months went by, I no longer feel the need of healing myself, yet I still want to be a part of spreading the love by sharing my stories. Even if I can only reach a single person’s heart. 

“I want to be a part of spreading the love by sharing my stories.”

I am not a good writer neither in Japanese nor English… I realized that through this process. 

Last week, the Coronavirus topic was just hard to put together. My mind was just all over the place with different thoughts and experiences. The more I have to clarify my writing, the more frustrated I get because they don’t understand me…trapped by low energy. Besides daily stress, being a mom and now a teacher because of quarantine, I now have more stress because of the blog. I had self doubt doing the blog. That is when low-self esteem hits.

Being a part of this community is my new journey.”

Life is just so unexpected. Though we all choose our own paths before being born. Being a part of this community is my new journey. Please bear with me. 

P.S. Being a teacher is a HARD JOB!

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