The best part about Halloween is not the candy, nor is it the entertainment you can get by scaring the sh** out of that annoying neighbor kid who is always on your lawn. No– the best part about Halloween is that for one night, you get to dress up like whatever the eff you want.
Lady Gaga? Check.
Redonkulous dude in a…
uhh… rainbow spandex bodysuit? (Wait, WTF is this?!) Check.
Um. Fireman without a shirt on? Check. Check. Check.
Anyhow, about three years ago, I was a sexy pirate for Halloween. Back in the day, life was all about partying— so I threw back a few shots of tequila, squeezed on my lipgloss, and I scoured the room for a hottie.
Within a few minutes, I’d found him– a policeman with a mischievous smile. I “accidentally” bumped into him (shameless, I know); he threatened to arrest me. We laughed. We flirted. By the end of the night, his phone number was written on my arm (don’t ask).
I never ended up calling him, though, and it was for the stupidest reason.
“When he sees that I’m not really a sexy pirate, he won’t like me anymore.”
* * *
Halloween or not, I think we all know the feeling.
You know– that exhausting, soul-sucking feeling that underneath the facade, we aren’t really good enough. The constant unexplored feeling that we have to put on a show in order to be loved or even to be liked.
We fear that who we are, just as we are, beneath all the flash and the charm and the designer jeans, isn’t good enough.
After all, if someone saw who we really were– human, vulnerable, tender, insecure, raw– they most certainly wouldn’t want to stick around.
That hot policeman?
If you weren’t a sexy, half naked pirate, he wouldn’t even give you the time of day.
That good looking chick over there?
If she thought you didn’t have money, she wouldn’t even talk to you.
If you didn’t graduate at the top of your class, they wouldn’t be proud of you.
And so day in and day out, we learn to wear our masks for the world. We do our best to become a version of ourselves that we believe others will value. We begin to define ourselves– to base our identities, our worthiness, on something that’s not really even who we are.
We are only valuable, we come to believe, insomuch as we can show up wearing our masks for the world. Who we are, just as we are, is not enough.
What a lonely, heartbreaking, alienating feeling.
* * *
There’s something you need to hear today, my dear friend.
Listen closely– go ahead, lean in.
It’s just this:
Sexy pirate or not, I love you.
Rainbow spandex bodysuit (or not)– I love you, too.
You– you are a rad motherf*&^r.
Yep, just because.
For no other reason except that you are.
And that’s just the way it is.
And that’s the way it always will be.
You, my friend– you need no validation.
There are no questions; there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
You just are.
I want to pour this love over you until every inch of you is covered like the ice cream at the bottom of a heaping hot fudge sundae. I want you to marinate in this feeling and let it sink into your pores and into your heart and into your soul. I want you to know: You are infinitely precious.
So am I, so is he, so is she.
Just as you are.
Do you believe me?
# # #
Not how you think.
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