#116 “Costume Shack”

From Allie in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Not far from where I live in Chattanooga, there is a costume shop called “Beauty and the Beast.” On the whole I am totally enamored with this little ‘mom and pop’ business, and I often wish that I could think of an excuse to simply stop in and peruse the merchandise besides that one time a year when I make my annual visit a few weeks before Halloween. There’s just something magical about wandering through those aisles piled high with pure imagination. The questions and possibilities flow so freely there. What do I want to become today? A pirate or a pimp? A werewolf or a cyborg? Perhaps a wizard might be nice. Or what about Roman soldier?

With the right amount of imagination and a few additions to our outward appearance, we may transform ourselves into totally new beings. Although we may not have the opportunity to assume these identities in “real life,” the temporary donning of a costume has a powerful effect on our minds, often producing a cathartic experience, a cleansing or purging of the emotions through a temporary changing of identity that is often as simple as putting on a mask. God, I do love to pretend.

As is the case with many pictures that I receive, the illustration above plays on this theme of a wolf dressing up in sheep’s clothing, but what I love about this particular picture is the notion that this act, while being one that is typically associated with slyness and a devious nature, is one that might also be associated with fun… with imagination… with the joy of simply putting on that costume and becoming something new, if only temporarily.

Today, I encourage you: don a costume, wear a mask. Be someone new and unique and creative and interesting and painfully alive. Go shopping and use a faux British accent. Where a suit and tie and carry a briefcase even if you are going nowhere that requires it. Dress like a bum and sit on a street corner downtown. Throw on some khakis and a red polo shirt and go to Target; if someone asks for your help, give them your best assistance. Wrap the top of your head in a bandage and speak with a stutter or a slow drawl.

Try it out. Put on that costume. I promise you won’t regret it.

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