[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/117798723" params="color=441b66&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /] What’s your favorite or most meaningful Halloween costume you’ve worn?
Mine has got to be the Hippie costume I wore in 5th grade, replete with seed beads, head scarf, rag purse and the tie skirt my Mom handmade when she was in her twenties. Although the costume was, in my opinion, fabulous, that’s not the only reason it means so much to me. My fun disguise reveals a poignant time of transition in my life: from girlhood to womanhood, the beginning of restlessness, longing and exciting discovery. I ached to be an adult without knowing what that really meant, of course.
As with most adolescence, signs of my transition came in the form of many a frustrating remark to my parents. I remember changing into my costume at school before my Mom picked me up to take me to the ALL IMPORTANT CAN NOT MISS THIS EVERYONE IS GOING TO BE THERE Halloween Party. The not-so-logical part of my attitude was that I was embarrassed to be seen at school wearing a Halloween costume on (gasp!) Halloween of all days!! Oh travesty!
I can hear my Mom’s confused and exhausted voice saying, “But Rae, you never get embarrassed. Why now?” I just sank further into my angsty frustration, trapped in the minivan as we headed to The Party, a place of anxious unknowns. What if no one else is wearing a costume? What if I stand out like a sore thumb? What if my costume is stupid and everyone else’s is cool?
The toughest part about going through this transition stage is that everyone has a place on the social ladder at school. Mine happened to be just a nose hair above the lowest of the low. Here I was, so caught up in my internal conflict I didn’t notice that I was about to enter a place where the social playing field would essentially be leveled out. I mean, what does a costume do anyhow? It makes you become someone or something you’re not. It disguises your true nature. It transports you into becoming a silly whim or your deepest desire. I was heading towards a free ride with my peace-loving, hitchhiking Hippie Child garb on!
But can you expect a hormone-enraged pubescent to think this clearly? So there I was at the Halloween Party awkwardly mingling with my gossipy schoolmates while getting a taste of non-parental guidance. And you know what? I have to say with shining honor that my (oh so embarrassing) Hippie getup won the Best Costume Award. Take that suckkkers!!! I can see the envy in all those parochial school girls’ eyes now as I received my prize, a Boyz II Men CD.
“Hitchhiker of the Universe” is not only about longing to be older, more experienced and independent, but it’s about looking back at that time now that I am older. It’s about reconciling with my younger self for being so naïve and thinking that I’m some “casual prophet of youth” who’s got it all together. Even though the person I am now doesn’t look like who I thought I’d be, I revel in the strange comfort of knowing that who I think I will be twenty years from now is absolutely unimaginable. Dream on, Hitchhiker of the Universe…
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