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Challenge: Open Discussion

Are you smiling behind that mask?

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I’m not asking in a snarky way at all- I really mean it? Are you smiling? Are you frowning? Are you opening your mouth wide with excitement?

One of the most challenging parts of this whole mask wearing, new normal, is just that. We are human beings. Most of our communication is non-verbal. Having a son that was almost completely non-verbal until recently has taught me how much we communicate through just facial expressions alone.

Who would ever think that amongst the many many things that this scary time in life has taught us to appreciate or not take for granted, that being able to see each others facial expressions would be one of them?

It has even made me realize that a lot of my personality is wrapped up in my smile! I don’t have a resting b**** face. I actually have an awkward resting, smile. So much so that I can be walking down the street and a stranger says hi to me, possibly assuming they know me from somewhere, because I was strangely smiling at them. I mean my Peleton user name is FarrahSmile lol. Oh boy. Do I lose this part of me with a mask on?

The obvious answer is no! But ... maybe we all need to just focus on smiling with our body language, words and eyes. To make sure people know we are friendly, understanding and present even while wearing a mask. Let’s learn new ways of showing love, compassion, kindness and understanding without only facial expressions and physically touching.

Maybe that’s just another way we will use this time to strengthen a part of us that’s lacking and grow from this experience that we hope to never ever experience again.

So, my answer. Am I smiling behind my mask? No, I’m not always smiling behind my mask. I spend a lot of time sad, scared, confused and overwhelmed by the complexity of our new normal. This whole thing has forced me to question every decision I make, every answer I give and every situation I put my family in.

But, when I am smiling behind my mask it is when I look around and see how these situations can bring people together (while 6 feet apart), cause people to open their eyes (while covering our mouths and noses) and how touched I am by all of this. (Emotionally not physically)

Keep smiling. We will get through this.

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