Monday, 9 November 2020

Putting On Your Big Boy Pants

The best quote of the US presidential elections surely has to be: "What the President needs to do frankly is put his big boy pants on.

It was said by Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney as he encouraged Donald Trump to concede defeat as President-elect Jim Biden was declared winner.

I don't need to go on. If you have an interest in political affairs, you'll know the rest. If you don't, you won't care. 

But what an expression. What a picture it evokes. I know pants is the  American word for trousers so it’s not quite as much fun in their eyes as in my mind (I envisaged Superman-style pants) but even so it tells it as it is. It is time for Mr Trump to grow up and accept the situation as it is. 

Mr Trump’s presidency has been fascinating because it seems extraordinary that a late middle-aged man (74) gained the highest office in the US while never appearing to be anything but a giant child.

He spoke simply and clearly without the use of big complicated words; his beliefs appeared to be black and white and, if anyone criticised him, wow was he cross! I'm keeping my language simple, as he did. 

He kept everything simple, dismissing North Korea’s President Kim Jong-un as “rocket man”; taking a different view on global warming: “It’s freezing and snowing in New York - we need global warming” and making splendid boasts of his achievements and the reason why he was so popular. At one time, he memorably summed himself up, saying: “The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.”  

And 70 million Americans still voted for him on election day, making the race much closer than expected (Joe Biden has so far won 74m votes). This man-child that is Trump still has a great deal of appeal.

I didn’t expect him to win first time round. I saw him as the larger-than-life Apprentice show boss with an interesting head of hair and an orange skin tone. He seemed to me to be quite a laughable character, not someone to take seriously.

I was wrong.  

I am still trying to get my head around his appeal as a politician. Is it an aspirational thing - if he can do it, so can I? Is it that his self-belief is almost hypnotic or do people really believe he can do what he says he will do? Building a wall between Mexico and the US, for example, and making Mexico pay for it.

Certainly, he gave people hope when they felt they had none. He successfully appealed to the workers whose jobs had gone as globalisation crept in. Trump was the visual epitome of raging against the machine, I suppose.

He had a fair degree of political cunning, assuring supporters he’d “drain the swamp” and root out the perceived corruption in Washington. In reality, I’m not sure how well he did on that.

He use the phrase “fake news” to great effect and that helped block rational argument. You were either for or against him. A goodie or a baddie there was no in-between bit as far as he was concerned. In therapeutic terms, it's known as black and white thinking and means an inability to see a way of bringing together positive and negative qualities and only able to see in absolutes - there is no shade of grey.

And that is what we expect from children. Something is fair or not in their eyes. If someone is unkind to them, they bear a grudge, they want to hit back and punish the baddie. No surprise there. But surely that’s not something we expect from a president.   

The surprise for me is that so many adults chose to vote not once, but twice for this man-child. If it is just because of his appeal, then I am quite lost. While, personally, I find his utterings and performance highly entertaining, I’m not entirely confident that President Trump was the ideal man for the job. But how can 70 million voters be wrong?

There is a glimmer of hope. 

I read that it’s more complicated - to me as an outsider at any rate - than it may seem. Some more in the know than I, say those 70m Americans who still voted for Trump had a different reason. They voted less for Trump the man and more for the values of the party for which he stood.

I understand calls to “defund” the police and the increasing normalisation of identity politics and the “wokeism” which comes with it played a large part in the decision of those who voted for Trump and against Joe Biden and the Democrats - something about which senior Democrat politicians are continuing to warn.

Phew, that’s a relief. Those 70 million people who cast their vote for the Trump this time around made a reasonable and rational decision and one I can respect.

I was beginning to get slightly worried that the people of the Western world had become so used to a man-child ruler that they wanted him to remain as president. 

Looks like we're all ready to put on our big boys pants.  

By Lulu Sinclair

Photo 1 mana5280 on Unsplash

Photo 2  Dave Lowe on Unsplash

Photo 3 Ian Hutchinson on Unsplash


Wednesday, 28 October 2020

How We Gain From Walking With Nature

We are now facing the threat, or reality, of another period of severely limited activities, social and financial deprivation and continued uncertainty. 

These conditions will be exacerbated by fewer daylight hours and colder weather and we are going to have to dig deep to counteract the psychological - and physical - damage that these constraints will inflict on our lives and well-being. The worst hit will again be the poorest and most vulnerable sectors of society; sectors which will already have suffered the worst losses and will already be the most depleted.

To have the best possible chance of surviving these deprivations and uncertainties, I suggest we focus on building resilience and accessing resources to provide resistance to infection rather than continually trying to avoid something that may be with us for some considerable time.  
It has been evident from the first period of lockdown that those who are fortunate enough to have adequate space - whether in homes, gardens, parks or the countryside at large - have fared better than those who don't. 
The one thing we do all have, however, is the natural environment itself. It is a resource that needs to be made available to all but it seems there is still not enough understanding of its beneficial properties in keeping us fit, both physically and mentally. 
Research shows that those who live in harmony with nature suffer significantly less anxiety and enjoy better health than those who are alienated from it. In the 1970s, the condition of Nature Deficit Disorder was formally identified by Richard Louv and, since then, there has been extensive research and a plethora of books and papers published evidencing the important way in which nature contributes to our overall health. Sadly, until quite recently, this theory was widely regarded as “alternative” and the benefits largely discounted.  
Fortunately, luminaries such as David Attenborough and Simon Schama have begun talking eloquently of the risks to ourselves of becoming distant from our natural environment. It has perhaps taken the experience of lockdown to alert us all to the reality that we disconnect from nature at a significant physical and psychological cost to ourselves.    
To explore this further, in September of this year I facilitated an outdoor woodland therapy session, working with my daughter who is an experienced Forest School Leader. 
We brought together a group of 10 self-selecting adults who were interested in experiencing how spending a few hours in a woodland environment could affect their feelings and mood.  
We set no fixed goals, but just asked that they tried to remain in the moment as far as possible and to be open and receptive to what was around them in the form of sights, sounds, smells and touch. We talked a little about the cultural, historical and transformative elements of woodlands and the way in which trees communicate with each other through their roots and leaves to warn of predators or other dangers. The example of nature is one of collaboration and community rather than division and dominance, thus making it more resistant to threat and increasing its chances of survival.
When we checked out at the end of the session, there was a tangible energy in the group which had not been present before and people reported feeling lighter, freer and inspired -  
no-one wanted to leave!
Journalist and author Isabel Hardman tells of her own experience and mental health recovery through the aid of nature in The Natural Health Service, a book published earlier this year. If her excellent and thoroughly researched book was formally acknowledged, I believe that we would have an invaluable resource that could be prescribed by GPs as a valid medication and one that could be made available to everyone, whatever their personal circumstances or whatever the external threat. 

Hospitals now recognise that gardens have a therapeutic value to long-stay patients. That is a great start. 

My fear remains, however, that Nature Deficit Disorder is not yet being taken seriously enough. Unless that happens soon, I worry there will more people presenting with a serious mental health crisis in the very near future.   

Photo 1 by Annie Spratt on Unsplash 

Monday, 12 October 2020

How Therapy Can Heal A Community

Here at 96 Harley Psychotherapy, we are proud to be supporting many different people from many different walks of life. We consider we are privileged to be allowed just a small glimpse into other people’s world and would like to share with you some of their comments on how they have individually benefited from specialist psychological care. Kay Lawrence tells of her personal experience working with these clients.

"Last Thursday’s pay packet was the best money I ever earned!  It was clean and I made it from my own hard work," said the young man referring to his £6.40 an hour pay. He was comparing that sum with his previous earnings of some £1,000 a day as a drug dealer. 

The young man was part of an employability scheme which helps people back into work, having served custodial sentences, or having been homeless, or both.  He was one of many being offered a second chance in transforming his life. The scheme called itself an employability scheme but was it just a job he was being offered? 

"I never thought anyone would help me after I lost my kids, my home, and my freedom," said a 30-something woman who found support after serving a prison sentence. The charity which helped her is committed to finding a way of decreasing reoffending rates by helping women find another way of living that allows them to leave the "revolving door syndrome". 

"Seeing the sunlight through the cracks of a shipping container and being in the sunlight as a real person in my own right is something that I can never truly describe," was the reflection of one  young woman in her 20s who had been trafficked into sex and domestic servitude. She is now being supported as she receives trauma counselling and learns to adjust to her new life, living safely in the UK. 

“No-one else would have been willing to take me on, train me up, and never mention my offences ever again,” said the man in his early 50s who is now part of a charity working with people who have years of repeat offending behaviour, culminating in homelessness, mental health difficulties and addictions. 

“I’m now training to become a coach to motivate kids, who are just like I used to be!  It all makes sense now.  If I can do anything to help those kids achieve their real potential, then my own wounds were worth it,” said the young ex-gang member who is now coaching young people who have been failed by the "system". He and the team are helping to heal their clients’ unresolved traumas and working with them for the common good.

The connection with the "end users`' of all these charities and the charities themselves have a goal in common: they long for transformation and a "better way".

If I can distill equality down to its most pure form, I would suggest the key is that we should all have access to the things that give us the qualities of living well. Fairness, opportunity and parity are the common ground, as is the practical need for food and shelter. However, our emotional and psychological needs also need to be looked after. Who are we without acceptance and respect? Who are we if we are not seen and heard, valued and appreciated?

There is so much good news that can be found in surveys revealing the outcomes of charity work and community projects. We know it may not work for everyone but, if one person in a generation changes the course of their life path, then that sets about a systemic change for their descendants too, as well as those around them. I find this prospect very exciting!  Supply the right conditions, and people who wish to embrace a new way will put in the leg work and do so.

Through our clinically and therapeutically informed work with charities and community projects, 96 HS remains committed to being a part of this good news. Partnering with organisations, we support the lifecycle of change, restoration and transformation in whatever capacity we can provide.

I asked a question at the beginning of this piece: Is it just a job? From my point of view, it is so, so much more.

By Kay Lawrence

These are some of the amazing groups we have been involved with since 2010. 

Photo 1  Silhouette of woman: Steven Lasry on Unsplash
Photo 2 Homeless man: by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Sunday, 27 September 2020

The Body Remembers

How are you feeling about facing a new lockdown? It seems as though we might be heading that way even if we're still at the "bespoke" stage.

Personally, I’m concerned. As a counsellor and, I hope, a caring member of society, I am worried about what emotional damage another lockdown would do to us. Will it really save us from this pernicious virus? Is it even right?

We are living in traumatic times. Babette Rothschild’s definitive book: The Body Remembers tells us that experiences of trauma can remain as a body memory long after the reality has faded. My fear is that those in charge have not given much thought how this trauma may affect its citizens of the future. 

I'd like to share a personal story which explains my views.

For almost two years, I have been a devoted carer to a small child. I visited once a week as a family member until she was nine months old and then took over her care for two full days a week while her parents worked. 

The arrangement came to an end in December of last year (to the relief of my body, at least) when she went to nursery full-time but I still collected and delivered and she came to my house so the steady, loving relationship continued.

Until March 23 of this year and lockdown when the relationship was abruptly severed and FaceTime became the “new norm”, a far-from-normal two-dimensional substitute. 

She was puzzled; I was upset but we persevered. She enjoyed pressing the red button at the end and was fairly overanxious to use it. She wasn’t speaking so we were limited to my chatting and waving and her waving hesitantly back until she became distracted elsewhere. It was unsatisfying but better than nothing. This went on for five weeks.

Then came Barnard Castle and the trip by the elusive Dominic Cummings when everything changed. I decided, like many others, if he could interpret the rules in his favour, so could I. The child's father finally agreed that I could come and see her and take her for a walk as long as we were outside the house. That was okay by me. It was Spring and I could do with the exercise. It was agreed I would do that twice a week.

Now for the interesting part. 

I drove over, parked the car outside the house and dropped off two bags of flour (remember the days when everyone was trying to bake and there was no flour around? I found a secret supplier) and went to drive off to park the car round the corner. By chance, I looked up and there was my little girl standing at her bedroom window looking out at me with a slightly puzzled gaze. She put her lovely chubby hand towards the window and hesitantly waved. I waved back with greater enthusiasm and then opened the door to get into the car. She continued to wave and then started to blow kisses. I drove off.

Some minutes later, I saw her in her full three-dimensional glory before she saw me. She was in her pushchair happily babbling to her father without a care in the world. 

Her father stopped walking and she looked around with some surprise. Then she saw me and there was a slow dawning recognition as she gave a joyful gasp. This little person who is usually quite reserved and, at that time, hard to coax a smile from, was so overjoyed at our reunion that she tried to scramble out of the buggy and fling her arms round my neck. It was a wonderful moment for both of us.

Her father left us (socially distanced at all times) and we reverted to our easy one-to-one relationship. When it was time to go, her father met us and walked back with me to my car. As I said goodbye, she began screaming and tried again to get out of the buggy. I was distraught, too, but kept my screaming to myself.

This pattern continued for some weeks and there were difficulties, though not with me. She was desperate for the swings, saying: "Peeese" in the hope that, if she asked nicely enough, I'd open the gate. I explained but she didn't understand of course. When the gate was officially opened, she was hesitant, holding back, uncertain about other children and the greater expanse of play area. 

We settled down and, later, I was “allowed” inside the house because restrictions had been lifted and the social bubble extended. (As I write this, I am astonished that phrases such as social distancing and social bubbles seem so ordinary. However did that happen?). The baby and I resume our relationship and I go over at least once a week to help out. 

If the lockdown is tightened, I will still be all right, as will she. I have “carer” status so there will be no more exclusions for me. But what about everyone else. How will they - you - and your loved ones fare?

FaceTime, Zoom and other computer meet-ups can be useful and are good at times of need. But nothing beats real human contact. Three-dimensional life matters.

By: Lulu Sinclair

Photo 1 by Rod Long on Unsplash

Photo 3 by Ben Garratt on Unsplash

Monday, 7 September 2020

Why First Impressions Count

Do you have a family member or friend who is starting a new school or encountering a new form teacher any time soon? This may be of interest to you.

I’d like to repeat something told to me by a teacher. “Make sure your child behaves him/herself for the first term at least. Otherwise, the teachers will have made up their mind about that child and their reputation will be carried on throughout their school career - and possibly influence their future prospects.”

I was shocked. I was disturbed by the idea that still-developing personalities could be judged on a comparatively short-term acquaintance in a strange and unfamiliar situation. And what I found particularly unsettling was that the teacher - part of a team of professionals who has so much power over young lives - did not seem concerned about the approach. 

Most of us know that we make judgments about one another in the blink - or even less - of an eye. That stems from way back when. Our reptilian brain - the amygdala - is on high alert in new situations to keep us safe from danger. It is the part of the brain that activates our fight, flight or freeze reaction and it is so fast to react that we are likely to be unaware of what is actually going on until we reflect on it moments afterwards. 

An example we’ve given before is of someone walking down the street looking at their smart phone, not concentrating and being unaware of the world around them. They come to a road and are about to step off the pavement when something stops them and they stand stock still. A moment later a bus goes by and they feel the rush of air as it passes centimetres (or inches if you are still on imperial measures) away. They are shocked. As they feel a rush of adrenalin and an extremely heightened sense of awareness, they think: “If I had stepped out …” 

The amygdala - their reptilian brain - has saved them. It is amazing and fantastic and astonishing to think that a part of our brain that has been here since we first arrived millions of years ago is still of vital importance to us. Vital, of course, in the truly literal sense of the word.

But (hu)mans cannot live by amygdala alone so, fortunately, we have the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex to complete the limbic system, and us.

What this means is the combined intelligence of the whole of our brain allows us to move from instinct through to emotions and memories (ie learning from experience) to reason, judgment, self-control or freewill and to manage the decision-making process. In other words, the whole emotional and reasoning experience that goes to make us a complete adult. I say “adult” because these parts of our brain develop as we mature - the prefrontal cortex will develop during adolescence and should be fully mature by the age of around 25.  

Let's return to the school teacher meeting a child for the first time. 

The child is likely to have mixed emotions because they are facing a new experience. Some may welcome it, some may be hesitant, some may be very resistant - however they are, there is every chance they will act different to how they might do in a situation to which they are used.  

Meanwhile, the teacher - while clearly an adult in a physical form at any rate - who may be more used to, and more understanding of the situation, is also going to experience his or her own complex emotions. 

It might be their first day in charge, they might be a last-minute stand-in, there could be unexpected trouble at home or, even, they are in a state of high excitement and can’t wait to meet the new intake. Whatever their emotional state, they will still make a judgment and it will still be instinctive and that judgment, so that teacher tells me, is very likely to stay with the child during their school journey.  

I know I'm talking about an initial meeting but imagine that initial impression being stretched out over the next few weeks. The child who is compliant, keen, eager to please, may be easier to like. The resistant child who is determined not to give of themselves no matter how hard the teacher tries is likely to find themselves "dismissed" more easily, leading to more resistance and so the pattern continues. And that is what made me so sad.

This blog, I hope, will give some understanding to both sides of what may be going on within, even when we are unaware. 

Perhaps parents and others taking children to a school for the first time could encourage their child (don’t frighten or threaten or the point is lost!) to understand the importance of first meetings and the impression they want to give. Urge them to give as good as they can, in every way. I'm not suggesting selling out their individual and precious souls but thinking about how they appear or how they might want to appear and see how the two can come closer together, if need be. The power, after all, is most likely with the teacher.  

And teachers, remember these are little people (teenagers, too, however big they appear) with a long way to go. They may have stuff in the background of which you are unaware. May I ask you to aim to work with all those parts of your mature brain before you judge and decide the worth of the child in front of you. Use your instinct, your emotions and your reasoned training wisely. How you react to that child over the course of the term may have a strong and influential effect on their future - either good or bad.

Perhaps there’s a lesson here that all of us would do well to learn.

By Lulu Sinclair

Photos of children in class: CDC on Unsplash


Thursday, 20 August 2020

In Search of a Hero

Did you watch the programme on Captain Sir Tom Moore, shown recently on ITV? What a story! A life in 100 years. Captain Tom’s is a life well lived and he’s living it still. 

The story so far: we’re talking a life full of adventure, a go-getting man, a kind person - he gave up a job during hard times because he was not prepared to exploit housewives by persuading them to buy his unnecessary product - a loving husband and father and a man who has persevered throughout his own personal tragedies. He has lived a heroic life. He is a hero, and we applaud him for it.

He’s not the only one we applaud. Remember all the NHS front-liners we stood and clapped at the height of the Covid epidemic? Week after week they laboured and week after week we cheered. And then we expanded our applause for the carers and the key workers who risked their own health to help others. For 10 weeks, we remained in our own insulated little bubbles looking out towards others and striving to remember we were part of a whole, that there was another world out there that we would be returning to very soon. It gave us hope.  

And then the clapping stopped. Still on a high, but as it had to before it petered out and left us feeling as though it were a chore, rather than a celebration.

And then what exactly? Exactly. What?

Lockdown eased. We moved into double bubbles and extended households; going to the seaside - or not - following government guidelines - or not - if we could understand them and generally trying to be good citizens. We moved seamlessly into masks and are presently waiting to see what is expected of us next.

Unfortunately, we mere mortals seem to have been forgotten. Our political masters have disappeared into the ether (or, as they may prefer to call it, their summer recess); our royal family are self-isolating and invisible in the glorious UK countryside (or what looks like a fantastic hidey hole in the California hills) and we are where exactly? Confused, I fear, and pretty much where we started. Neither here nor there. 

Those who were brave enough to attempt a break out for freedom with a holiday abroad have been caught out as unexpected lockdown quarantine rules return. Crab-like, the naughty escapees rushed to get back before the curfew with some of them arriving back in the UK with only minutes to spare.

Some may consider such holidaymakers a little frivolous for risking a trip abroad, others might applaud their “can do” attitude, believing we still have to make our own minds up how we choose to live, even in uncertain times. 

And this is where our need for heroes come in. The media - both traditional and new social - are full of articles about managing uncertainty, making the best of this time or offering insights of wisdom (I try to do it here) in the hope it will help people to keep their sanity while, it seems, politicians and world leaders all around us are losing theirs.
Personally, I experience the current uncertainty and what seems to be an absence of leadership as being left on board a rudderless ship. I’m no sailor, I need help.

We used to be able to turn to religion in times of adversity. Many of our brothers and sisters around the world still do but statistics inform me that, in the UK, the belief in an omnipotent celestial being has waned.  

Ironically, as we as a nation celebrate multi-culturalism and diversity, we seem to be moving away from a collective celebration of a life which embraces and includes all humanity. Instead, we pick and choose what matters to us as individuals and “identify” with ever smaller groups that seem to exclude more than they embrace. It is something we have always done; we may appear more sophisticated than our ancestors but, deep down, our emotions are pretty much the same as they always were.

My sense is that each of us needs some kind of spiritual or god-like figure to help us make our way through this crazy, uncertain world. We need exceptional people that we can look up to, aspire to and maybe even become. We need a sense of idealism, community and the feeling that someone is looking out for us and putting society’s collective needs above their own individual desires. We need more heroes.

As singer Bonnie Tyler once pondered: “Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods? Where’s the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds?” I only wish I knew. 

Until then, three cheers for Captain Tom. 

By: Lulu Sinclair

Top picture: Captain Sir Tom Moore portrait by kind permission of Alexander Chamberlin

Photo by Kutan Ural on Unsplash
Photo by Wai Siew on Unsplash

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Masking Up

How are you getting on with wearing a mask? Are you glad to be doing your bit for society and hoping that you’re helping to contain this awful illness?  Are you pragmatic? Do you wear it because you have to? Are you railing inside, feeling it’s an infringement of your own rights? Or have you decided to give up on going out and doing anything that requires wearing such a facial covering?


There are other options available to this question but it’s curious that we are having to discuss it at all. Who would have thought, even as late as March when lockdown started, that it would be made compulsory for all of us to wear masks when we are out and about?


A newspaper recently carried a cartoon of a man wearing a face mask, saying: “I’d never had imagined the time would come when I’d cover my face, walk into a bank and demand money.”


I find that funny but I also find the situation very, very odd. Our Western identity is very much wrapped up in baring our face. We are suspicious of those who conceal - or are concealed - behind a mask. If we can’t “read” a person, how can we know who they are?


We have characters in history to learn from, good and bad. For bad, think highwaymen, pirates, masked thieves stealing away in the night with swag bags over their shoulders. The Man in the Iron Mask is an in-between figure: feared because of his demeanour but trapped and controlled by his disguise. Inside was a man who had done no harm to anyone, locked up inside a mask simply because of who he was. Darkness and masks, there’s a theme there.


Good masked characters are available, in case you are beginning to feel bleak. Among the superheroes are Batman and Robin, Spiderman, the Lone Ranger and even Cat Woman, though she did have a devilish streak.

What they all had in common, however, was a desire to disguise who they really were. Whatever their role, these characters did not want their true selves revealed. The masks set them apart.


The difference for us is that we are having a mask imposed on us, whether we like it or not. Earlier in the lockdown, we were told they were unnecessary so we have to adjust our thinking from “not doing any good” to “wear a mask to avoid killing your fellow human beings”. I’m exaggerating of course but that, I would say, is the gist of the message. Whether we like it or not, we no longer have a choice. Mask up or stay at home.


For those of us who choose to go out, how will you wear your mask and what sort will it be? Will you ease it casually under your chin at first sign of open air, or will it stay firmly in place, metaphorically glued to your mouth and nose so that you obey the rules and limit the risk of infection? There you are, you are telling us a lot about yourself, even without saying a word.


You might decide to follow the style of trendy celebrities and “influencers” who are making a feature of their masks, designing ones to match their outfits. Mask as statement: a clever idea. 


But what about we who wear them out of necessity, not accessory? We who go for the functional white-backed blue paper-type that the NHS hands out. They are not pretty to look at but they serve a purpose. Unless you wear glasses, then your breath tends to steam up the glasses, making it both hard to breath and see. It’s not a good look, and it makes shopping difficult.


Once out and masked up, there is the question of how we behave. I have been observing, and notice a mask does make a difference. Often, it is an extension of a person’s personality. If they are timid, they may become more timid - keeping their distance, hand up to face perhaps in a bid to ward off evil illnesses or unwanted attention. Conversely, a mask may allow a more confident soul to spread (usually a) himself further physically.


At the beginning of lockdown when only brave or desperate people ventured out and masks were still a rarity, I spotted a heavily shielded man pushing forward to get what he wanted from the shelves while tutting loudly at others who were also trying to get their food needs met. The irony was that he was coughing and spluttering too. I wanted to point this out to him but lost my nerve as he glared my way. It was a learning moment and, after three months of observing, I get the sense that a mask will bring out the extreme of a wearer, good or bad. 


The lesson I'm taking is that I - a person who does not like wearing a face cover - need to adapt as best I can. If I am going to be forced to wear a mask for some time, I need to accept it with good grace and try to remember I am still on show, even if a part of me feels hidden. I should not use it as an excuse to behave "badly" or in a way I might not, if fully uncovered.


If we really want to be supportive of each other, maybe we need to work to ensure masks don’t bring out the worst in us. Maybe, instead, we could use our eyes - the “windows to our souls” after all - to signal that we wish our fellow travellers all the very best. 

By Lulu Sinclair

Photo 1: Colin D on Unsplash  

Photo 2: Alex Motoc on Unsplash