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Pandemics play a role in history, as they shaped us. From Bubonic to Covid, this is something that felt startling and unsettling. The lockdown reduced us to our homes' safety, and academia halted; my friends and family caught this rapid disease; unfortunately, one did not survive. At first, all you could do was wait and watch the news, and I even tried to google and journals or documents of those who lived during the plague; Something that sparked in my mind was the memory of Italy's Black Death, how Venetian doctors with large canes to examine and keep distance would go house to house seeing the sick, but knowing half the people would not survive. What became notable in my mind at the fear of illness and responding to safety was our face mask. But the mask is something everyone would see, the mask that would ward of the “miasma.”
But we know disease spreads rapidly, you must stay at home do your part. I felt the sense of time begin to dissipate, days and months blur the sensation of cabin fever sets in quick, must distance six feet apart and the feeling of hopelessness and dread set in, unable to see friends, fear of getting infected or others. Still, we must wear our masks to fight this plague. We could help the effort by sewing masks, something so simple as a cloth with a string to protect us from a violent, deadly disease. Something so small and so simple caused such a debate, became some people's fashion staples. For me, I enjoy historical fashion, and I began to wonder how to incorporate each one into every outfit, maybe one for each theme or to tribute to my interest. Being a goth, I sought this to make sure if I'm going to go out, let me be safe, but have some joy in the safety I wear. Maybe in the future, historians would see this object and see the symbolism it held as the protector in such an uncertain time.

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This item was submitted on January 24, 2021 by Amanda Victoria Torres using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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