I have struggled writing this post. Every draft sounds like my Halloweens as a kid were horrible. My family spent the time creating and staffing a Haunted House every year. This helped raise money so we could put on events for low income families in our community. Honestly, almost every holiday was spent doing volunteer service. So, I don’t want to say that my Halloweens as a kid were without fun.
I, however, felt like the person with the biggest costume, even among the adults. When my mother would have to sew my costume, the entire process felt like a reminder that I was fat.
I never had the cute costume on Halloween. Sure, the sizes of costumes are started to get more inclusive. But, can you imagine what it was like as a fat kid in the 90’s trying to buy a costume off the rack?
Here’s the thing about Halloween. It’s the one holiday a year where everything is focused on outward appearance. Who we are, what we are judged on, even our acceptance at a party, is based on how well we arranged our appearance. For a kid, pre-teen, teen, and even adult with body image issues this was a nightmare. It’s a day that I know for sure people are looking at my body.
As an adult, I generally skipped this holiday. Even when my son was born, we would dress him up and take pictures, but I would jokingly say that I was dressed as a Mom and laugh off my lack of effort. But, really? I’d rather take the heat for wearing clothes I’m comfortable being fat in, than deal with the embarrassment of a costume.
This year, however, I think my body positive journey kicked in. I began to realize it really wasn’t about how I looked in the costume. The fun of pretending to be something else isn’t about looking exactly like it, but to make it your own. I’ll admit, I didn’t really go all out. My costume is really a PJ shirt from Wal*Mart. (Did you know they sell pajamas with capes? Hells to the ya.) My husband’s costume was a shirt from the T-shirt section. My son is really the only one with an actual costume.
This year, I was able to go about my business without the negative self-talk. I wasn’t worried about what I looked like in my costume. I didn’t even particularly care if other people like my costume or not. I’ve learned that, even on Halloween, what other people think of me is none of my business.
And, really? No one really cares. That’s the crazy thing about this journey. I’ve been controlled by my negative self-talk my whole life thinking it was the inward voice of the world’s view. It never occurred to me that people would not really care whether a fat girl dressed up for Halloween. Let me tell you: My friends, my dance family, the people who really matter, were just as loving and accepting of me in a costume as they are when I’m in my horrible fitting jeans.
I found the joy in the holiday. I found it while taking pictures with my little family, and getting into the spirit. I found the joy in my friends, and the fun times we had together. And, if I’m to be honest here, I found joy in wearing a cape.