Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween

Me in my gorrilla costume and Chris not so impressed.

An old soul and a child at heart


Some kids would make fun of me for dressing up as a gorilla almost every Halloween in grade school. Those same kids always froze their butts off while trick or treating. I got the last laugh and more candy.

The gorilla suit worked well for a few reasons. The first, of course, was because it was warm. It was comprised of a black sweatshirt and sweatpants with patches of fake black fur attached by safety pins. I had a rubber, roaring gorilla mask, and each year I added to the costume. Sometimes it was more fur, or different color fur, or one year, I made a big commitment and ordered a set of gorilla hands and feet.

At least one of those Halloweens, I even inspired a couple of my friends to dress up as gorillas with me. We went out trick or treating as a trio of tiny, chest-pounding apes and terrorized neighbors until they filled our plastic pails with sweets.

Ah, the good old days.

It seems like such a long time ago now - the excitement for the parade at school with an early dismissal afterwards, trick or treating, staying up late with friends, old vampire movies on TV. As a kid, Halloween was magic. It was something to look forward to and celebrate, and even though I wore the same costume most of my trick or treating prime, I still loved getting dressed up.

However, now that I'm an adult, I can think of a million different reasons not to get dressed up for Halloween. I'm grown up and I don't have time or money to put on a silly costume or mask. I have to be to work the next day. Trick or treating is for kids. Candy will rot your teeth, don'tcha know?

I'm an old soul. I sense aches and pains that don't necessarily belong to me; a deep and gouging responsibility to always be reaching further, always after what's next. Somedays I wake up feeling the weight of the world resting on my shoulders, straining my neck, blowing out my knees, crushing my cracked and broken ribs into my diaphragm so that I cannot breathe.

It's great for productivity. The sensation is great for being terrified blindly into working as hard and as fast as possible, but it's truly detrimental to my ability to live in the present, and that makes it terrible to be open to creativity.

That's where the costumes come in. Costumes allow us, even as grown ups, to escape our reality for a little while. Behind the mask, in crazy clothes, dressed like a cartoon character, monster, or some other mocking personality, we are released from ourselves and all the world is redrawn. We get to live in the present, if only for one night, and be goofy, silly, crazy. Maybe just allow ourselves to laugh at ourselves.

The act of getting dressed up and making the world around us a game also taps into our innate creativity as human beings. The right brain hemisphere is put to work on drawing up a costume idea, how to put it together, what we'll do to celebrate, and of course, thinking of ways to scare kids.

Isn't that what it means to be a child at heart - to have fun for the sake of having fun? It's an act of catharsis, then, for a child at heart to accompany an old soul. The two are a match made for each other. One nourishes the practical and the logical while the other nourishes the joy of life; the reason to get up every morning, regardless of the aches and pains.

See you out there,
A woodsman in training.

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