I am really into Halloween, like super obnoxiously into Halloween. I dream of the day I can be an old lady in a cool old house that I decorate with lots of bats and gravestones and spiders and I will give out really good candy and play scary music in the front room.
Unfortunately, for the past few years the Husbandit and I have been experiencing cash-flow issues and there is rarely money to spare for costumes, party-throwing, and decorations. Also there has been a time-flow issue and there has rarely been time to make lots of Halloween cookies from scratch, or peruse thrift stores for costume parts, or any of the other things you can do to make Halloween magic on a budget. Last year this culminated in me attempting and failing to sew a costume last minute and getting really weepy and runny-nosed and explaining to the Husbandit that I Just. Wanted. To. Have. Fun. For A Change.
This incident was part of what inspired me to do this blog because I realized that if I’m saving up all my fun and joy for one night, I’m probably doing it wrong.
This year I made a little more room for fun costumes and clothing in my life, such as wearing a a huge fascinator or bright red shoes simply because I decided that was my DamaskRose costume for the day. And even though money and time has continued to be tight, I made the effort to enjoy the hell out of Halloween anyway. I volunteered to decorate our office for my workplace’s annual trick-or-treating, I watched silent horror films on YouTube, and tonight I am going to go out to a Halloween ball with the Husbandit, even if we can’t stay out all night because we have to work the next day.
In the spirit of the month, many of my new acts have been doing things that scare me. I started another writing class that focuses on revision, an area that scares the heck out of me. The Husbandit and I decided that for the sake of his health and stress level we needed to not travel for the holidays this year…and we told our families (they ended up being pretty understanding). I’ve been going to lots of networking events in which I don’t know anyone. And I’ve been having more honest conversations with friends. During several different conversations, the same theme kept coming up–the idea of giving up hope as an act of courage.
The idea is that when we stop putting our life on hold while we strive towards some mythical ideal, be it money, career, physical change, whatever, we end up neither enjoying out life, nor reaching that ideal. Actual happiness is found in being mindful of each moment as it is, rather than perpetually dreaming of a perfect moment in the past or future.,
When people say stuff like this to me, my usual response it, “Yeah, well–what about people in awful situations like floods and and slavery and famine? Are they supposed to give up hope? Accept the shitty present? How’s your theory now, huh? Huh? That’s right, you better walk away” (In my mind, I’m saying this to a kindly Buddhist monk and he looks very sad).
However, a friend gave a slightly different spin that made me less skeptical. She explained that the idea of mindfulness isn’t about making you a mindless smiley doormat to reality; rather, it is about accept reality wholeheartedly so that you can either be really happy or really sad or really angry instead of drifting through your existence. I like that idea better, though the thought of practicing that kind of acceptance is pretty scary.
All right, enough navel-gazing. Time to apply some glittery eyelashes and drink some dubious green cocktails and dance until…well, closer to dawn that it is now.