- This time of year, people are thinking about what costume they hope to wear on Halloween. Take a moment to consider what other “costumes” you might be wearing throughout the year.
- Costumes can be a way to express yourself or to “try on” a new version of yourself. What costumes this year have you “tried on,” and what did you think?
- We all occupy different roles in society and in our personal lives and might “dress up” in costumes for each. In spite of that, it is important to have a balanced sense of who we are underneath the mask.
- If you find that you wear too many masks because you are uncomfortable with who you are, therapy may be a good place to start to feel better.
Every October, people of all ages purchase or create costumes so that when Hallows Eve rolls around they can inhabit a new identity. There is something novel and exciting about having the opportunity to put your life or your identity on pause and “try on” what life could be like as someone entirely new.
While we think about “dressing up” as an intrinsic part of Halloween season, we are actually putting on costumes all year round. Think about the uniform or style of clothing that you reserve for the work day; a night out with friends; a concert; a date. Each stylistic choice sends a message to others and to yourself about who you are and what you are currently engaged in doing. These costumes may seem more mundane than what one might don while trick-or-treating, but they serve the same purpose: allowing us to see ourselves in a fresh and different way.
This year for Halloween, consider what costumes you have worn this year and which costumes you anticipate wearing in the coming year. How do certain costumes make you feel? Which costumes do you feel most authentically and comfortably yourself in? If there are costumes that seem unattainable for you to wear right now, ask yourself why and how you can get to a place where they are.
People are complex beings that often take on different and varying roles through the course of their life. This is normal and expected. However, it is important to not lose a sense of who you are underneath the costume, cape, or mask. Balancing and keeping track of all components of our identity can be a challenge. Do you know what is under your mask?
Sometimes we wear costumes or masks because we are afraid of sharing how we feel, are ashamed of aspects of ourselves, don’t feel acceptable, and are afraid of rejection. These ways of being in the world can create significant challenges for doing well in one’s career, being happy with oneself, and forming good relationships. If you are struggling with something like this, it may be a good idea to work with a therapist to help you. Start My Wellness is a great place to seek therapy, get an evaluation for psychiatric medication if needed, and get psychological testing for conditions like ADHD.
Author: Rachel Levy, LLMSW
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*This blog was created with the help of Anton Babushkin
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