When my older daughter was about three or so, she’d wake up and get dressed in either one of two outfits: a tutu or a princess dress. Whichever outfit she chose, she’d wear all day, wherever we went.
Grocery store trips took forever because every nice grandma-type lady would stop us to say, “Oh how beautiful! Did you have ballet class today, sweetie?”
Of course Suzie would look blankly at the nice ladies, “No,” she’d say, and then after they left, “Why did they ask me that mommy?”
Exactly. I understood Suzie’s confusion. After all, why did she need a reason to get dressed up in her favorite costume? She was just expressing who she was on that particular day. Wasn’t that reason enough?
Watching her get dressed in the morning, I confess I was always a tiny bit envious. Wouldn’t it be cool, I thought, if I (as an adult) could express myself like that? How much fun would it be if I could wear a costume whenever I wanted!?
I think that’s one of the reasons Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I suspect it’s probably the only day of the whole entire year when I actually could wear a tutu to Whole Foods and not look like a complete nutcase (Well, maybe. At least people would understand why I was dressed up).
Speaking of tutus… my family and I went to a Halloween costume party Friday night as the vampire cast of The Nutcracker.
We were pretty proud of our theme; if nothing else it cracked the four of us up every time we talked about it. My husband and I died laughing each time we looked at each other in our costumes.
Besides having fun with my family, I discovered that I also enjoyed the time off from being ‘Jaime’ for a little while. I’d been in a really rotten mood for about a week and I just couldn’t snap out of it. Truth be told, I was getting more than a little tired of being inside my own head.
Enter vampire Sugar Plum Fairy. For a few hours I got to be her—proper, sweet, beautiful ballerina on the outside/wild, sexy, scary vampire (complete with fangs!) on the inside. (For those of you who know me very well, I invite you not to analyze that costume description too closely!)
People reacted differently to vampire Sugar Plum Fairy than they would to Jaime. I scared more than a few small children with my ‘surprise’ fangs, and even one grown man. Yeah, it was a good night.
By the time the night was over and I took off the tutu and the fangs, I was feeling much happier than I had in days. Even better, I was ready to be Jaime again–and, finally, ready to take myself and my ‘problems’ much less seriously.
It’s a shame we adults don’t get more opportunities like this to just play at being someone else for a little while. Sometimes it’s good to take a break, to force yourself into a different perspective, a different outlook on life. You never know what (or who!) you might discover.
*(Note to self: I seriously need to stop my obsessive quoting of DMB songs… ah, but sometimes it’s just so appropriate! Plus it all fits so nicely into my grand theory on the meanings of life, love and happiness…)
© Jaime Greenberg and discovered in play, 2011