on halloween costumes

Childhood.

Oh, a Disney princess. Fucking every year. No shame, Disney princesses are great.

Adolescence.

I vividly remember this one Halloween- I think I was 13?- when I decided I HAD TO BE SEXY. A SEXY WITCH. Fuck, how gross is it that 13-year-olds ever feel like they need to be sexy for any reason ever?

I had a long black dress, a long black wig… oh, I thought I was going to be the hottest thing on a broomstick. Surely all the boys who had previously ignored me would now come flocking to my cauldron.

My Dad was really excited about helping with my make-up. As a Dad, though, he made me super scary, not alluring or seductive. He actually did a great job, looking back. Thanks, Whiskers. Blood ran down my jaw, dark circles hung beneath my eyes, purple veins popped around my white, sunken face… There’s still a great picture of me from that night, snarling into the camera.

I think the next year was when I went as Ron Weasley. I’ve always had a weird fondness for Ron Weasley, dumbass though he is. I remember asking my mom while reading the books if I too could be considered “gangly” and “broad-shouldered.” I really, really wanted to fit Ron Weasley’s description as much as possible.

Adulthood.

I’m not totally proud of this, but I’ve been Chris Pratt characters for grown-up Halloween twice in recent memory. Bert Macklin by way of Andy Dwyer and then Owen Grady the next year. And I remember the Bert Macklin pictures in particular; remembering that little thrill of thinking how much I looked like my brother. Of how non-girlish I appeared. I felt the same way as Owen, taming a tiny stuffed brontosaurus. It was the first time I ever bought an article of clothing from the men’s section of Target.

Last year, of course, I was Aziraphale. Not a man, not a woman, but an ethereal fucking being. It was a costume that revealed so much to me and, as you all know if you’ve been around these parts before, it’s been a hell of a year since. I remember putting on the waistcoat and the trousers for the first time in a Goodwill dressing room and having my friend Lucas remark on what a good look it was for me.

Because costumes aren’t just an opportunity to play pretend, I don’t think. I think they are chances for us to slip into skins we’ve wondered about for a long time, if only for one night. I hate normal clothes. I hate shopping, I hate trying things on. Here, in what I think is my second puberty, I just wear over sized flannels and yoga pants in an attempt to hide my stupid body away.

But looking for a costume? WHAT A QUEST. WHAT A THRILL. I feel relief within a costume. I felt more like myself in that night in Aziraphale’s outfit than I ever do in any of the usual garments in my closet. I remember how sad I was the next morning, to wake up and find that it wasn’t real.

Except it is, I suppose. It was.

I’ve learned so much about my body and my heart thanks to that night as Aziraphale. I don’t know exactly what my next step is, but I am finally feeling in my own skin some of the relief that costumes and dress-up have afforded me over the years. Because being a princess was fun once upon a time and I guess every 13-year-old goes through an ill-conceived needing-to-be-hot period, but… the last few Halloweens have been so informative to me in regards to who I am and what I want to look like.

I’m not doing anything special this year. I think I’m going to sit, masked, in my front yard and throw candy at trick-or-treaters and that sounds really delightful. And this week, nearly exactly a year later, I think I’m going to call a therapist and maybe consider tiptoeing through the door that Aziraphale opened up for me.

So. Yeah. Cool. Tickety boo, even.

I didn’t get here too late. I got here when it was time for me. And I’m grateful to have had a literal guardian angel looking out for me this whole time.

The over sized flannels and the yoga pants are the costume, are the disguise. Are my means of hiding and apologizing to the world. I am finally hopeful that a day is coming soon when my body feels like something to celebrate and something to adorn in exactly what makes me feel the best and most handsome. I’m terribly scared, but also excited about the day.

Again, I didn’t get here too late. Wherever you are, neither did you. We’re going to be okay. Because we deserve to live in the skins and the clothes that please us best more than just one night a year, okay?

Okay.

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