I have traditionally not been a fan of Halloween. It’s always been one of those holidays that meant so much for everyone else and very little for me. Call me boring, but dressing up, putting on makeup, having to coordinate costumes and accessories ….. it was just too much work for something I found to be downright silly.
Nevertheless, there I found myself last Saturday night steadily applying white face paint in front of the mirror. A dab here and a smudge there, the bathroom countertop littered with little, white applicators. “Add some more near your neck and smooth out your forehead” said the voice that used to belong to my girlfriend. It now belonged to the person dressed in black with sunken eyes and a pale face of her own. She looked at me and laughed mischievously. “I can’t believe you’re doing this.”
“YOU can’t believe I am doing this?” I thought to myself. I worried about how long it would take to remove all this gunk. Worse yet, how many pictures of me as a demonic warlord would float around inboxes and hard drives around the country. The voice in my head raged on. “You want me to paint my lips and nails black, too? Geeeeez!!!!!”
Yet without Halloween, I would not be able to say that my five year-old son helped me apply lipstick to my mouth. I would not be able to quote my daughter as saying, “I can’t help you now because I am holding daddy’s teeth.” I would not be able to say how everyone was fascinated by my horns. And I would not be able to admit that I was wrong all this time.
Yes, I drew the line at the fingernail paint – I had to salvage some sense of my old self – but I have to admit that my perceptions, or should I say misconceptions, of Halloween were wrong. I realized that it was not so much a matter of inconvenience but rather a sense of embarrassment and insecurity. Everyone would be looking at me. Everyone would be studying what I’m wearing and critiquing how good or bad it looks. However, the person that gets the most looks and comments at a costume party is the idiot without a costume. Funny how that works.
I guess what made this particular evening so special is that I allowed myself to branch out and do something different not so much for me, but for the woman I love. I got to share an experience with Lee that truly meant a lot to her. I got to feel the joy and excitement she feels in dressing up, going out and being a “character” for one night. It was different and strange and personally rewarding. And in it’s own way, it was symbolic of how good relationships work. Expanding horizons, letting go of preconceived notions, taking chances……that’s the trick. Feeling loved and appreciated……that’s the treat.
Happy Halloween, everyone