CHalloween was one of my favorite holidays as a kid. I loved the fact that, for one day out of the year, I could pretend to be someone else. It’s not that I didn’t like who I was, but the idea that you could put on a mask and a cape and turn yourself into your favorite superhero was pretty cool.
Growing up in South Florida the weather was still quite warm at the end of October, which meant that the vinyl costumes we typically wore stuck to our bodies while begging for candy from strangers. One year for halloween, I really wanted to be Chewbacca. My grandmother was a seamstress and decided that she’d buy some furry brown fabric from the fabric store and make me my own realistic Chewie costume. She even took the mask that came with the vinyl costume and stitched some fabric to it so that I really looked like a Wookie.
Did I mention that it was still hot in south Florida at the end of October? We had to cut trick or treating short because I damn near had a heat stroke. This was okay because dad had a few in him and we didn’t want history repeating itself (years before he beat up a talking pumpkin). Live and learn!
I’m guessing the picture above is from Halloween 1980 when Jimmy and I were 6 years old. That’s me as Batman and Jimmy as Robin. Lest you think I strong handed my way into being the Caped crusader, Jimmy was Luke Skywalker one year and I had to settle for transforming myself into Han Solo, which actually didn’t bother me because I always thought Han was the more interesting character.
The masks we had to wear are look like props from Eyes Wide Shut, though I guess they are better than the mask we have to wear today.
At the moment, I’m listening to a 45 year old version of Robin give a webcast on mental health and the legal profession. I have to say, I’m proud of the Boy Wonder for citing his own experiences with mental health as examples throughout his presentation. It takes a lot to admit to ones vulnerabilities in that area.
Which brings me back to…masks. In addition to the ones we are now using to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19, I do think we all wear masks to some extent. I know I have in the past, certainly as a way of either protecting myself from emotional harm and/or hiding my true feelings. I know that both are wrong and detrimental to not only my health but also interpersonal relationships. It’s something that I’m working on and getting better about.
It strikes me that I’ve come a full circle—once I couldn’t wait to put on a mask and pretend I was someone else and now I’m working hard to get rid of the masks I wear, both physically and metaphorically.