What are you going as for Halloween?

63ffaac0d6961ecca4a54eab028fc968-2Two days from today is Halloween. This year, the holiday falls on a Friday, which means that adults and children alike will be out to play, seeking treats of candy or alcohol to release from the pressures of the week. Although their idea of “treats” is different, they will most likely honor the holiday in the same tradition- wearing a costume. It’s an exciting time for children, who get to decide for one day out of the year what role they will play. I think it’s interesting what people choose for their Halloween costumes. For all who play dress up, it’s an opportunity to try on someone different, whether that be someone glamorous, scary, or brave. On Halloween, a timid child can be a super hero or a pirate, saving the day or swash buckling to new fortune. A little girl who feels plain can be a glamorous princess who can create ice castles from her fingertips. Halloween, for children, is the one time of the year where they actually receive a reward for pretending to be something they aren’t, but wish they were. That desire lives on in us as we grow to adulthood. Although adults are less likely to dress up on Halloween, I’m sure you’re aware of the popularity of the “sexy nurse” costumes, and even television characters like Walter White and Don Draper are popular for grown ups. One could argue that adults also appreciate the opportunity to try on new roles. For a woman who wants to feel sexy, or a man who wants to feel in charge of his destiny, dress-up can bring a welcome release from hum-drum daily life. A costume choice can say a lot about a person’s wish for who they want to be. If on one day of the year, you get to pretend to be someone else, who do you choose to be?

 

When I was a kid, I was all kinds of crazy things for Halloween. One year, I was a nun. My mother made me a habit and I wore a cross and everything. Why I wanted to be a nun I can’t now tell you. We weren’t even Catholic. It was the year Sister Act came out so probably that had something to do with it. Most likely, I just wanted to be bold and funny and sing-songy like Whoopi Goldberg is in that movie. I now realize that the desire to be something you aren’t is the first step to realizing who you want to be. And once that desire is realized, one question remains- what stands in my way? Who is to stop you from being a super hero or a glamour girl, or a big bold nun who sings? I mean, clearly there are adjustments, choices you could make in your own life to bring you closer to becoming that role you envision for yourself. As they say, “If you can dream it, you can be it.” so what’s holding you back from being what you want to be? What’s stopping you from being who you really are?

I could say that there are things I want to be for Halloween. There are roles and traits I wish to take on. But when I label them, I realize that this is actually just a label of who I am, deep inside. It turns out that it’s what I’ve been wearing the rest of the 364 days of the year is my actual disguise. At some point, I must have received a treat for trying on this disguise, and it encouraged me to continue the behavior. As children, we are rewarded for being “nice” and “quiet” and  for “following the leader”, but just as it’s not fun to go as the same thing two years in a row for Halloween, costumes should change once they no longer fit. Identities should evolve, new traits must be found, and silhouettes of who you are to become must be sought out. So why do we allow ourselves to be stuck in the pattern of a likable disguise that no longer serves us?

 

This year for Halloween, I’m going as a CEO. This Halloween I’m going to be a leader, and an innovator, and a wife, and a mother, and an aunt, and a creator. This Halloween, I’m going to be a writer, and a singer, and therapist, and a friend, and a teacher. This Halloween, I’m going to be a Jewish, Spanish-speaking Boxer. This Halloween, I’m going to be a motivational speaker and a game changer. I’m going to be a ball-buster and a hard ass, and a person who is unafraid. This Halloween, I’m going to be someone who people see and say “Wow! What a unique costume!” This Halloween, I’m going to step into my power, and not by pretending to be something I’m not, but by becoming who I know I am deep inside. My Halloween might be one night, or all year, or until I’m dead. It will last until I’m ready for my next costume change.

 

When it comes to roles and identities, you ALWAYS have a choice of who you want to be. Your desire to be something more comes not from a far-fetched dream, but from your innermost self reminding you of who you really are, long before you have the courage to accept it. Honor each child you see who has the bravery to label who they want to be, and chose a costume that allows them to embody it. Encourage them to embody these traits year-round. And then remember, that you can choose a newer, more sincere costume for yourself. Treat YOURSELF by  becoming that. It’s this crazy notion that we need to go through life pretending we’re something we aren’t that is the greatest trick. You can be bold. You can be brave. You can be beautiful. So put on that costume, go on the journey, and watch how the loot pours in after you make the decision to be truly you.

 

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