“Thank you for protecting me.”
These words were written in blue chalk on the sidewalk during my run last week. I smiled to myself when I saw them.
I smiled because I wear a mask while I run through my neighborhood. I have been for the last month or so. Yet, in all that time, I have not seen another runner or walker wearing one.
Not one person.
I understand that if you can keep a conservative and safe distance from all people, wearing masks may not be needed. But, for me, it feels like the right thing to do. Each run I take, I continue to don one of the adorable cloth face masks my mother made for our family, and it makes me feel better.
Wearing my mask allows me to feel more secure and makes me feel like I am doing my part to help others. It lets me take responsibility for a small thing during a time when I have very little control.
I feel good about that.
I know there are many people who feel wearing masks is unnecessary. I know this. I’ve read the social media posts and seen the protesters on the news. I’ve heard from those who think my behavior is excessive and paranoid.
I’d be lying if I said that there is not the lingering worry of being mocked while I am out with my mask. Honestly I don’t care what people think in their own heads, but I do worry at times when running on a main street. I have heard stories of people lashing out at mask-wearers. But this hasn’t stopped me from wearing one.
So, when I saw those words – “Thank you for protecting me” – written in my path, I did smile and I felt just a little bit validated.
I’m just doing the best I can. Just like we all are.
And, part of doing MY best is wearing my mask.