This year has flown by and the holidays have descended. Halloween is tomorrow and it’s one of my favorites. I go heavy on the eye makeup, wrap myself in my velvet cloak, pretend I’m a witch, and try to conjure a little magic in my kitchen. My family rolls their eyes (lovingly, of course) and clears their calendars every October 31st for my gathering. Some even play along and wear costumes. It’s a tradition that began begrudgingly, but now I think they try to shock me. Keeping it all a secret until they appear at my door- candy in hand with big smiles crinkling up masks and face paint.
I love the playfulness of it all. The air is cooling, the sky is darkening, and for one night we get to pretend we are something else… Or perhaps just a more intense, eccentric, and less socially appropriate version of ourselves. I think I would like to wear my velvet cloak every day, but that would make me weird, wouldn’t it?
I get the question a lot from my clients, not about the witch, but about the weirdness. Everyone wants reassurance that they are “normal.” One of the most healing things that I am privileged to witness, and sometimes facilitate, is the realization that someone’s quirks, fears, worries, pains, experiences, and desires are not only held by them.
We do not want to be alone, and I see a lot of shame and fear rush out of people when they discover that others might feel or think the same way they do. I’m often surprised by how powerful it is just to say “I know how uncomfortable this is, but I promise that it’s not abnormal”. Comfort lives in the knowledge that we are not alone. Pain somehow lessens when we know that others have experienced it too. Maybe it’s the reassurance that “if they can cope with it, so can I”.
There is a universality, a sameness, to human experiences, wants, and needs. There is also a glorious uniqueness. We all might share traits and experiences- they are our ingredients. However, they never have and they never will come together the same way as they have in you. You are your own secret recipe.
For myself, and maybe some family members who are finally getting on board (poor souls – haha), Halloween is an opportunity to share a little uniqueness. We get to act and look outrageous without worrying what others might think of us. It’s a sense of freedom and of fun that, as adults, we are rarely allowed to partake in. So tomorrow night I am giving myself permission to play and to be different. I hope that you will too.
Live Well, Love More, Laugh Often
*Hilary Yurtin, MS is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Coach, and Thought-Partner. Her private practice is in Frisco, TX. She is an avid traveler who enjoys cooking, reading, writing and spending time with her family, husband, and cats.
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