Halloween is quickly approaching and with that might come pumpkin inspired home décor, snacking on bite-sized treats, and planning for the ultimate costume. Why might we do this? There are a sundry of explanations that might lead to us to change up our home style or crave individually wrapped chocolate delights. After all, Halloween time is fun and those things can make us feel good.
However, I am fascinated by the notion of dressing up as something or someone else and what that might mean. What if we were able to just come as ourselves for Halloween? What would that look like?
A major idea that has me curious about what it might mean to just show up as ourselves is the notion of how we go about forming our identity—who we are and who we want to be.
Have you ever been listening someone else’s’ story about their lives and thought, “wow, that is totally me!” Or, have you ever declared yourself as something when getting to know someone? This might look like, “I am totally a type A” or “I am a mess”. How come we take ownership of that one particular role? How come it’s so easy to seek comfort in just one? What compels us to claim our identity as just one thing?
I’m not totally sure, but Vivienne Burr suggests that, “We are the end-product, the combination, of the particular ‘versions’ of these things that are available to us” (p.34, 1995). What Vivienne Burr is saying is that we are a combination of so many different identities. We might not act the same way in front of our coworkers as we do with our family members or best friends.
This can be a challenging idea to get behind—the freedom of being able to claim more than one identity statement about yourself. Those in mental wellness might be curious about this freedom and how you might choose to identify moving forward. How might you dress up this Halloween knowing what you know now of not necessarily needing to be just one thing?
I have no conclusive answers, but I would love to pose a challenge to you all this Halloween season. Lean in to all of you—all that makes you, you. Check in with yourself in all of its states—the colleague, the professional, the student, the mother, the sister, the friend, the daughter, the partner, or whatever else you might be. All of those pieces make you your wonderful self. So, visit with them, see how that might be, give them thanks, and if you get scared, just remember it’s only a costume.
Burr, V. (1995). An Introduction to Social Constructionism. New York, United States: Routledge