Ladybugs and Mirrors

Ladybugs and Mirrors

Even as a kid, I never really liked dressing up for Halloween. It has a little to do with really hating being looked at, probably. And it has a lot to do with hating not being seen, probably.

I have been:

  • a lady bug
  • a cat
  • a vampire
  • a tiger
  • a prisoner
  • a librarian
  • Rachel Green
  • Harry Potter

I have dressed up as many things, and felt uncomfortable all the while. It's a little feeling that starts in my chest, a pitter-pattering whisper that none of that is me

I guess that's the point of a costume, to create a visage and give your identity a break. But there is this perceptible tension that occurs between the image people are digesting and the you beneath the costume. It almost feels as if they are looking at you without really seeing you

I am not a cat, a vampire, a tiger, or a prisoner. I am not Rachel Green or Harry Potter

I am a student, a daughter, a friend, a sister, a waitress, a writer, a reader, a laugher, a runner, a crier, an almost (but not quite) adult

I am all of those things. But moreover, I am all of my stories:

  • I am my parents who got divorced and now live across the street from each other
  • I am the girl dragging her suitcase down the street, from one house to another
  • I am the 15 year-old in love with a girl, but that can’t be right because girls love boys?
  • I am the I-broke-up-with-my-partner-of-three-years-and-now-I-am-scared/lonely/happier
  • I am the person who is falling in love with someone new while I still love him
  • I am the friend with all of the stories
  • I am, I am, I am, I am, I am.

There is too much of me to put into a costume

Here is what I have learned from being the friend with all of the stories

You must open your arms to a spooky sort of vulnerability. A vulnerability that conjoins the dark space between the you the world sees, and the you in your mirror. A vulnerability that leaves you feeling raw, honest, and most importantly — seen

Halloween is not just pumpkins and candy corn. Nor is it ladybugs, cats, vampires, tigers, librarians, Harry Potter, or Rachel Green. Halloween is a moment when you:

  • stand before your mirror,
  • look at yourself in your big blue eyes,
  • and decide that you are okay with not being seen— even if just for a couple hours

I haven’t learned how to separate myself from my stories or how to find peace without them, and I’m not sure if I want to.

I’ve never really liked dressing up for Halloween.