The Costumes We Wear

Kathy McElfresh
Kathy McElfresh

Putting your best foot forward?

This time of year is so focused on costumes and getting dressed up for Halloween parties and trick-or-treating — well, maybe not this year!  The prompt for this post got me thinking about “costumes” we “wear” for all kinds of occasions throughout the year and what they “say” about us.

The first photo above is the one I feel most represents “me”.  Or at least the way I’d like others to picture “me”.  I’m dressed for hard work landscaping a women’s shelter on a charity project a million years ago when I was skinny.  It says I’m active and generous and in good shape.  The next is my favorite Halloween costume photo — one of the best gnarly teeth makeup jobs I’ve ever done.  It says I like the fun of dressing up to get scary.  The next is the one that says I’m a long-haired blonde.  None of those photos is recent and yet each represents who I think I am, or at least who I’d like YOU to think I am.  The most recent photo is the crazy SnapChat pic taken this past weekend at a family get-together to paint pumpkins, eat food delivered by UberEats and build a chocolate cookie haunted house for dessert.  I hadn’t straightened my very grey hair and my double chin is showing beneath the huge silly smile.  So this is ME.  The  goofy filter can’t hide that even in the midst of a pandemic that has changed the way we will celebrate Halloween this year, life is good.  

The Costumes Around Us

KatieBug’s  Faces

The costume Katie wears with us is quiet and sweet.  With friends she’s feisty and outspoken and strong. With her dad she’s outspoken and honest. Like her expertly-done make-up here, she has many facets!

Barrett spends the happiest moments of his life in a football uniform.  That’s his “comfort costume”.  Sometimes at home he becomes the silly, fun kid that he used to be.  We suspect that’s who he is with friends.

Ava wears her hood up to hide her unexpected curls growing back after chemo. She’s still got the sense of humor that led her to design her Halloween costume a couple years ago: she was a Uni-corn dog….

A Different Kind of Mask

I love this photo because James is smiling on a “date night” with Ava at a wonderful Persian restaurant.  Ava hates it because she thinks you can tell that she’s “fake smiling” even though she’s wearing a mask.  Just goes to show that we all have different views of how others see us, and we’re always adjusting to better represent ourselves, either as we see ourselves or as we hope others can see us.

Do we do it in our scrapbooking?

All of this led me to examine a few of my pages to see how often I put on a mask to dress up views of these glimpses into my life. Turns out I do it all the time.  Yes, I scrap hard times and bad times and ugly times every once in a while and I honestly express feelings and reactions to such times.  But more often than not, I choose rosier views and more positive aspects of life.  And I’m OK with that! 

This page represents my definition of HOME.  The photo was taken by my son as his kiddos worked on painting and glittering their pumpkins at my craft table down in the basement where we eat dinner every night.  When I look at this photo I recall that John and I were painting our own pumpkins out of camera range and I recall that the take-out food we got was the best we’ve ever eaten.  I know that the event pictured was truly FUN and that it put the absolute best costumes on everyone!!

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