Monday, October 31, 2011

Costume Changes

Ever notice what happens when people put on a costume? It doesn't matter how young or old they are, personalities shift. The range can be from thinking they have license to do all those things they would not do without the costume, to total discomfort and uncertainty as to who they are now supposed to be.

I thought about this whole thing when I was struggling to pull on the black vinyl catsuit I decided I wanted to wear for Halloween. I've no doubt the one wore by Catwoman was a lot more expensive than mine and therefore had a lot more flexibility. I'm also sure hers did not come with that delightful odor reserved for vinyl shower curtains. But once zipped up, I started to giggle. Not only did I look different,  I felt different. I was about to take on the persona of my costume. I wasn't going to the party as the writer, or business coach, or new novelist. I was going as someone different. And what I was wearing was making the difference.

The truth is we all wear a costume, everyday, regardless of whether it is Halloween or not.

I still have a closet full of suits that when I am forced to wear one, I look and feel like the corporate executive I spent many years playing, buttoned up, restrained, having to conform to the rules. I slip on my yoga pants and t-shirt and I am not just headed for the gym, but I am now in my writing costume, comfortable and flexible with which to stretch my creativity. Dinner with mom is not how I dress for dinner with a date. Two different costumes for two different personas. A pajama party with the girls is not the same costume of lingerie I might choose for a sleepover with my guy.

Why do we have these costume changes? To help shift us into the various roles we play in our lives. How many times have you walked in the door after an excruciatingly long day, aching to take off the costume you'd been playing your role in just so you could find the core of yourself again? Sometimes the costumes are fun and others might make you break out in a rash.

The roles you play in these costumes are not necessarily unauthentic. Just parts of who you are. Underneath all the layers, you are still you. The difference with Halloween is you get to be outlandish.

What's your Halloween costume? 
Do costume changes help you to shift into your various roles?

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