No, I’m not saying you’re a dick for not wearing a mask. Maybe you are, maybe you’re not, but that’s not what I’m saying.
In fact it’s very possible I’m saying exactly the opposite.
People are so freakin’ quick to judge, it’s frustrating. We’ve become so incredibly judgmental, and most often without even a shred of evidence. And yes, if that makes me sound judgmental, so be it. I also can’t tolerate intolerance.
You don’t know
If someone’s not wearing a mask, you don’t know why they’ve made that choice. Seriously: You. Do. Not. Know.
Yep, many people — probably even most — choosing to not wear a mask are willfully belligerent, intentionally contrary, insensitive, or in many cases, outright ignorant or stupid.
But not all.
I have heard of at least one person suffering from PTSD of some sort (the details of which are irrelevant) manifesting as an exceptionally negative reaction when forced to wear a face covering — any face covering.
There are those with breathing problems for whom even the simplest mask adds difficulty, and at least anxiety. If you can’t understand this, be thankful for your own health, not dismissive of the issues faced by others.
And of course there are those for whom wearing a mask would also risk being ostracized by peer groups, family, and others they deem important.
All of these people have learned of late that the world is full of judgmental dicks. They risk accusation and in-your-face confrontation whenever they leave their home.
All due to judgments based on assumptions that are often simply wrong.
If you can’t wear a mask
First, I apologize for the judgmental dicks in the world. I’ll try not to be one.
But here’s the deal: they exist. Especially given all the social pressure and medical advice to wear masks, they feel empowered. Nothing you do, nothing I say, will change that. To quote someone, recently: “It is what it is”.
I get that it’s not fair. It’s totally unfair. The world is full of judgmental dicks, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
All you can do is focus on what’s in your control. That probably means avoid situations putting you in proximity of judgmental dicks. I’m afraid that might mean staying at home as much as humanly possible.
It probably also means minimizing the time you run inside at public places to which you must go.
It shouldn’t be like this. You shouldn’t have to hide — and make no mistake, you are hiding.
But it is what it is.
And to be clear, none of this gives you any additional rights, and certainly not the right to be a dick in return. If you’re one of those willfully belligerent, intentionally contrary, and/or insensitive individuals you’re doing your cause no favors by being a dick. (That’s true for both sides, by the way.)
We all live in fear
I wear a mask because I’m afraid of catching the disease.
I wear a mask because I’m even more afraid of not knowing I have it and inadvertently spreading the disease to others.
Those that don’t mask up live in fear as well. Fear of looking stupid. Fear of being ridiculed by their peers. Fear of the government or some conspiracy. Fear of who knows what?
Often that fear is unfounded (they’d say the same of me), but it is what it is.
You don’t have to like it, or even agree with someone’s fear — but accepting that fear might be their primary motivation (whether they realize it or not) might go a long way to keeping what’s left of your sanity, and maybe even tone down the divisiveness so prevalent today.
Keep your distance
See someone not wearing a mask? Don’t assume. Don’t be quick to judge. Wear your mask, and avoid those who don’t. That’s all you need do.
Are you someone who can’t, or won’t wear a mask? Same story: respect the choices of others, and know that they would want you to keep your distance. That’s all you need do.
The willfully belligerent, intentionally contrary, insensitive, or the outright ignorant or stupid on either side won’t notice or care.
But those for whom the struggle is real, will.
Mask or no mask, as the saying goes: in a world where you can be anything…