Sensitive people can sometimes be a bit melodramatic, like today when I voluntarily wore a mask and felt compelled to share it with everyone.
Three years into the pandemic, “masks” have indeed cast a shadow over us. I’m not particularly concerned about whether wearing a mask is necessary; my issue is with the forced gathering of people for nucleic acid testing, and staff forming an assembly line on the streets, contrasting with the mandatory mask-wearing. This is driven not by scientific rationale or concern for health and human beings, but by power.
This power quickly seeped down to janitors, security guards, and property management, leading to an overbearing spread. When faced with such massive restrictions, you can’t help but resist. The mask becomes a shadow you want to exorcise. I always carry one in my pocket and a spare in my bag, using it as a “passport” in the city to play the daily survival game.
However, this left me in a bad mood.
Upon my arrival in Tokyo, while Beijing had lifted its mask mandate, almost everyone in Tokyo was still wearing masks. I didn’t mind because there were no restrictions on other freedoms, and no one at any checkpoint was asking, “Where’s your mask?” So, wearing a mask felt more like mutual care between people, which was reassuring.
Thus, I integrated into this “rule,” but in less crowded streets or parks, I would still take it off, happily breathing fresh air, even though everyone else was masked.
In March, the indoor mask mandate was completely lifted, yet most people continued wearing them. Initially hesitant to stop immediately, I felt a slight pressure from Japan’s “atmosphere.” A month later, I completely stopped wearing masks and no longer carried spares in my pants or backpack. In the subway, many continued to wear masks, and even in summer, about half of the people still did, though the number was slowly decreasing.
During the winter flu season, mask-wearing increased again. With the mindset of not wanting to trouble my family and others, I prepared a mask. Wearing it in winter brought a bit of warmth and a sense of protection in crowded subways.
I feel it’s necessary to report this because I no longer experience nausea at the sight of a mask, nor do I feel tired of them. So, presumably, my PTSD from masks is likely gone.
Coming from a totalitarian state, one always carries various burdens. I bought a miniature figure of a pandemic prevention worker and brought it from my homeland to my office in Tokyo, keeping it in sight, lest I forget the past traumas after adapting to my current life. On the other hand, I’m carefully examining my inner self, engaging in dialogue, trying to escape potential hidden damages and smooth out those invisible gullies.
I don’t see this as a contradiction. I believe that being robust and retaining memories is the most appropriate state.