It is October 31st, 2010.
In the grand scheme of things, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It is, however, also a holiday that often makes me feel very awkward when it comes to actually participating in the traditional method of celebrating it.
I have costume anxiety.
I trace part of this back to some of the costumes I had as a child. Now, I want to be perfectly clear about something before I go much further in the telling of this story – The older I get, the more I appreciate the things my Mother did for me when I was growing up. As a single, non-college educated parent she had to struggle just to make ends meet on a monthly basis, and she did so in a manner that was completely hidden from me. I never realized how hard she was working. I never appreciated the sacrifices she made, or the ways in which she had to shuffle around the bills to give my sister and I the things we needed or wanted. I do not ever recall her ever telling me that I couldn’t have something because we couldn’t afford it.
She did, however, frequently reply with “I can make that.”
And that is how I ended up with my Zorro costume.
I don’t recall why I picked Zorro that year. I suspect it might be because the movie Zorro, The Gay Blade was in heavy rotation on cable, but as I can’t remember exactly when we had this Halloween party I couldn’t say for sure. All I know is that I had images of transforming myself from a doughy, insecure pre-teen self into a dashing, romantic, suave swashbuckler.
Unfortunately that’s not quite how things turned out.
I believe the black top was a black Members Only type of jacked, zipped all the way to the neck. The cape was hand made by my Mother if I recall correctly, as was the mask. The hat, however, was perhaps the most awkward of her inventions. She took a white Styrofoam Straw Skimmer hat (the type that seem to be very popular at political conventions) and spray painted it black.
This is what I pictured myself looking like:
Not quite the dashing figure I wanted to be. Not only that, but the damn thing was hot as well. We’re usually still rocking the air conditioning when Halloween rolls around here in Florida, and we were having the party on what was at the time a screened in back porch at my house. I was boiling in that get-up, and it didn’t stay on me for long.
Now I realize that we all have “bad” costume stories, and I also realize that this isn’t even actually a bad one. In retrospect, as I pointed out above, I realize that my Mom did the best with what she had available, and the fact that she went through the trouble to actually make me the costume I wanted to wear shows just how much she loved me and tried to give me everything I wanted. I was, however, a typical selfish kid and I was fairly mortified by how my costume turned out. I desperately wanted to be something I wasn’t – cool. The costume ended up making me feel lamer than I already felt.
I’ve spoken at length about how horrible my self-image is, and my dread of Halloween is just one example of that. I love the idea of putting on a costume, but any time I actually think about doing so I usually give up fairly soon after having that idea because I end up convincing myself that I’m going to look lame if I do it. This doesn’t just happen around Halloween, though. This is why I have never dressed up for Dragon*Con, either. This is why my wardrobe is largely made up of black t-shirts with witty sayings and long shorts, (I figure that if I can’t look good I might as well settle for comfortable) and it is also why whenever I DO “dress up” I feel incredibly self-conscious the whole time. I have had far too many occasions when I’ve thought, in my head, that I looked pretty damn good…only to see pictures of myself after and being horrified by how lame I appear to myself.
Which is really the crux of this whole issue, isn’t it? How lame I appear to myself. Having spent a large portion of my life being uncomfortable in my body because of my weight issues I cannot objectively look at myself and see that, sometimes, I look pretty good. I always see the sagging skin, the extended belly, the blemishes on my face. I cannot, for the life of me, see myself as anything other than…well…ugly.
Not most of the time, anyway.
So, yeah…When Halloween rolls around I generally try to think of a costume I can wear and end up abandoning the idea after a good long bit of self-flagellation over how stupid it will be. Thus, a large part of what makes Halloween so fun gets lost to me every year.
This is usually the point of the story where I make some kind of vow to get over that this year and put on a costume, but that isn’t happening. I made a small concession by wearing my kilt last night to a party at The Refinery, but that’s about as far as it went (and even that made me feel more than a little awkward at times). I’d love to get over my whole costume anxiety, but until I get around to losing these last 50 pounds and getting over my body image issues I just don’t see it happening.
Regardless, I do love Halloween and I’m looking forward to seeing if we get any kids at the house tonight looking for candy. This is the first Halloween in a very long time when I haven’t been involved in a show with Jobsite, and it will be nice to actually be able to watch scary movies and see costumes for a change.
Oh, and if you haven’t seen the video below yet you totally need to right now.