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Masks: Appear to be a controversial and intense subject among humanity around the globe. Until recently, I had been sheilded from the need to don them regularly.... due to my occupation (outdoors work with animals). Last weekend, I attended a two day horse show in New York. It was a joyful experience, to say the least. I have huge gratitude to Kirby Hill, the farm hosting the show, and the group of folks that put it together. A fantastic, well run show. It also brought with it a requirement to wear masks all the time. So from before the sun rose to after the sun set, I wore a mask. Except when I was riding.

Everyone these days is experiencing their version of what the world looks and feels like now. Masks are everywhere. Required in many states, highly recomended in others, it seems that "public wisdom" is guiding us all in this direction. I found the experience of wearing a mask for two and a half days to be shielding, sweaty and ...thought provoking. The group of women I show with, Team Believe, all had their masks, and we all kept pulling out one liners of what is positive about wearing masks (example : never the need for sunblock, or makeup, because basically your face is fully covered all the time). Masks are familiar to me. Not the ones we are all wearing today. But ones made of survival skills. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. With that said, I wore "masks" constantly prior to treatment for PTSD/Trauma in 2016 at Sierra Tucson in Arizona. My early "self" was shattered by adverse childhood experiences and so to stay alive, I wore masks. Hiding raging internal pain. A mask for my family, a mask for friends, a mask for teachers, coaches, parents, grand parents, brothers, colleagues, coworkers and mentors. I knew no different. Now with great relief, I have put down my masks. I can don them, just as we put on our masks to head out into public these days. But I do not rely on them. With that being said, nor should we rely on the masks that we don today. Although they shield us, the sacrifice is great. We lose the ability to see what emotion looks like. A mask hides so much. With a mask on do "happy", "sad", "tired", "angry", "joyful" look different? Unless someone has been crying for hours, no. So, we loose clarity in non verbal communication. And when communication is blurry, understanding is blurry. So next time you slide a mask on, open your eyes to the way our world is changing. Whatever the global turn of events, our world is shifting. We should be cautious in how we "use" our masks. That said, summer IS HERE. Full swing. Heat, long days and fresh corn. Enjoy every bit. Masks, or not.

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