I am known for being a Truth Teller. I give it to you straight. I cannot hide my emotions or tolerate too much crap. I’m not good at pretending. So Halloween is not really my scene.
This has always been the case. According to family legend, I was a strong-willed child. This story is one of my favorites:
“When you were four you said you wanted to be Princess for Halloween. Your Mom didn’t buy you a plastic costume at K-Mart, she was going to make one for you. She stayed up all night to sew you a beautiful princess costume. It was shiny lavender with gold rick rack. You woke up the next morning on Halloween and hated it. You stomped and said, ‘I don’t want to be a Pretty Princess! I want to be Aimee Paulson!'”
Here I am, fourth from the left, hanging out at Montessori that day. Screw you, Halloween. I’m Aimee Paulson.
I played along in the future. I remember only two costumes. In 4th grade I was a gypsy – lots of blue eyeshadow and all the jewelry I could find. At 22 I was a flight attendant – lots of blue eyeshadow and an an oxygen mask made out of a margarine container, rubber band, and baggie.
In 5th grade I did get a blue and white cheerleader skirt with matching pompoms, but I didn’t wear it. I knew I’d never be on that team. I put the poms to good use, though. When friends came over we’d take turns being pregnant cheerleaders. When the doctor pulled the blue plastic streamer, it went from transparent to opaque: “Well, the test says your pregnant.” The cheerleader would say “Oh no!” Good clean fun.
I’m fascinated by every child’s and adult’s costume choices. I’m not a licensed therapist or a killjoy, but I’m always going to want to know the backstory. What’s the secret message?
But what if I were your (very mean) licensed therapist, and as an exercise made you show your darkest self on Halloween? What if your worst traits and impulses were made into a post-modern, amalgamated costume. What would your costume look like?
My Truth-Telling/Worst Case Scenario Halloween Costume:
- Alligator Head – My kids say I look like a mean alligator when I yell
- Sumo Body – I haven’t yet learned to shake what my mama gave me
- Holding a Club – Sometimes my forthright words hurt people
- Holding a Phone – I’d rather control my people interaction in short spurts
- Wearing Old Yoga Pants – Basically public pajamas, no longer used for yoga
- Wearing Clown Shoes – For all my public pratfalls, missteps, and failings
I think I just described what Barney looks like when he gets drunk in the props closet. No one wants to see that.
I think we all prefer the wish fulfillment version of Halloween. Somedays you might want to be the Sexy Nurse or Albert Einstein. Fine by me. Shoot for the moon. Look at me! I’m witty/creative/bored/busty/crazy/drunk/ironic/scary/cool/too cool! What would your amalgamated best-self costume look like?
My Fantasy/Best Case Scenario Halloween Costume:
- Gentle Doe Head – Big soft eyes and ears for better seeing and listening
- Ballet Dancer Body – Everyday elegance and poise
- Holding a Fountain Pen – Someday there might be a book
- Holding an Orphan – Longing to be a better mother and world changer
- Wearing a Smock – Appreciating and encouraging the arts
- Wearing Really High Heels – I am woman, hear me roar
I think I just described the cover of the next Anthropologie catalog. It would probably be easier if I just wore the Wonder Women costume Greta’s has been begging me to buy for 3 years. The bathing suit and red boots stripper version.
The truth is, I’m wearing both kinds of costumes every day. I’m Predator and Prey. I’m a Clumsy Ballerina. I’m a World Changing Clown (see Chicken Dance). Somedays I feel like Drunk Barney and others I feel like Wonder Woman. I finally figured out this is normal.
The four year old in me is thrilled. “I just want to be Aimee Paulson Fritz!”
So if you come to my door, know that I’m going to welcome whoever you are that day. Pregnant Cheerleader, Neanderthal Brute, Gypsy Queen. You’re safe. I know you. I’ve been you, too.
You are loved.
Post Script: I could not resist these gems from Montessori Kindergarten, Halloween 1977. I spy Super Man, Evel Kinevel, Spider Man, Fred Flinstone, Foghorn Leghorn, Scarecrow, Hobo, Cat and Dog. Can you imagine letting your kid dress up as a “Hobo” now? Who is the scary red demon? Am I in a choir?
I have been unfolding the idea of Surrender throughout the month of October.
Yesterday’s story of Surrender: Seeds
For more about our shared spiritual journey and questions, you can read here: Soul
© Aimee Fritz and Family Compassion Focus, 2015.