In this Halloween season of drunk ninjas, lynched bankers and sexy librarians/cats/things, Therapy is Dandy would like to celebrate and give special consideration to the masks that we wear all the time.
One could argue that Halloween is actually more fun for adults than children because it is the one contemporary holiday that is based on in-your-face deception. We are not ourselves: we are exotic and fantastical creatures. We are walking horrors and disgusting rejects, we are the sexy (insert favorite occupation), and we are the drunken id full of too much left over summer time energy, celebrating one last big night before the fall of ice and snow.
There is a great kind of pleasure when you leave for the evening completely unrecognizable. There is freedom and there is fear. David Bowie made his career on the former, and the genre of doppleganger novels of the 19th century played out the latter (I am looking at you, Dr. Jekyl).
For every robot, princess or mafia kingpin we encounter on Halloween night, we all eventually go back home, take off our costume, and resume our intimate lives with the real masks of our lives. These personal masks have different, sobering names: unemployed, hopeless, bad, alcoholic, needy, depressed, unfulfilled, lost.
Given the power that taking off the personal mask has—even for a night—it is surprising that there are not costume balls nearly every weekend in every city! Maybe video games and electronic avatars have taken up that slack, but that’s a different topic for a different day.
Our personal masks, whether we made them ourselves over years and years, or if they were given to us by our parents or family (thanks, mom!), play a big part in how we interact with the world. Unfortunately, they also can trap us in ways of thinking about ourselves and our environment that lead to unhappiness and despair. This is where talking to a therapist can help you uncover the secret origin and history of your personal mask.
The power of Halloween, indeed the recharging and restorative power of Autumn, is about the reality of change, the reality that we all can and must put on a different mask when our environment changes. It is not just about adaptation (but that’s a big piece), it is also about enriching our lives with new and perhaps for the first time, healthier and happier perspectives.
If you would like to talk more about this, feel free to drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Yes, I will even show you pictures of my latest costume.
Have a great Halloween!