As children we like to play pretend, be creative and dress up. We love to act silly, bold or brave and become someone else. But once we grow up, that isn’t always the case anymore.
I suppose I never grew up because I’ve always been–even before kids–the one at the office dressed up on Halloween. It’s always been one of my favorite holidays. Even if not a single other person wore a costume, I’d be wearing mine to work loud and proud (And I remember a couple of times where I actually was the only one.)
But the truth … it’s strange that Halloween would be a favorite for a person with social anxiety. You’d think logically that I wouldn’t want to stand out from the crowd. But over the years I’ve realized that dressing up is a way for me to hide by becoming someone else.
But even more than that, I think that dressing up on Halloween is a way for me to get some of the attention I crave that I’m afraid or unable to ask for on a regular day. When I was a teenager, my group of girlfriends had this little joke about how they had to “pass me the conch” so I could get a word in. I suppose on Halloween the words come to me. I get lots of smiles and hellos, and I don’t feel the pressure to come up with small talk. I’m terrible at small talk.
I feel confident when I’m dressed up. I feel bold, like I’m more than myself or even better than myself. I feel like maybe, just maybe, someone is looking at me and thinking isn’t she fun! I feel like the cool girl I want to be instead of the depressed and insecure person I often feel on the inside.
It was kismet that I married a guy who also likes to dress up on Halloween. Or perhaps it’s been my enthusiasm that encourages him to join in the fun. He says he used to dress up every few years, but that’s not the case now. The lovely man even grew out his beard for 2 months to make his Dougal McKenzie costume even more realistic. (In case you don’t know Dougal McKenzie, I suggest you read or start watching Outlander. Awesome awesome books and show.)
I’m sad Halloween is over but I perhaps I can start to work at finding ways to feel cool on the inside year round without the need to be someone else. But I’ll always dress up on my favorite holiday.
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