Who am I?
It's a tiny sentence with enormous weight. Three little words, one big ol' bag of worms. It's Halloween today, and thanks to Oprah, of all people, I'm sitting at home pondering what may just be the most difficult question in the world. Who am I?
Oprah challenged me again today (clearly I am someone who loves Oprah and is not afraid to admit it... just one facet of me, folks) by revealing that one of the themes of this season of The Oprah Show is to get people to think about that little huge question: Who am I?
Bare with me for a moment while I try to sort it out. Chances are, I'm not going to come up with an answer here and now, but it got me thinking, that's for sure. It got me thinking about Halloween and all the different costumes that I've worn throughout this life so far.
A clown? Yep. My very first Halloween costume, in fact. A big curly wig (sign of things to come?) and a puffy red nose that I refused to keep on. I am a clown still today, but only those closest to me get to see it. It's a silly little secret me that comes out from behind the seriousness and the dry humour every now and then and makes my nearest and dearest cringe because it's just so foolish. I can drive my sister crazy with my clownish behaviour, but truly she should be honoured because I love her enough to let her see it.
A baby. Well, aren't we all sometimes? I was an old baby and an old child. Serious and contemplative and wise beyond my years. I think that as I grow older, I also let myself be more babyish and childish. For me growing up means letting go of some of the restraint that I imposed on myself as a child and teen. Today I'm often blindsided by wonder and awe, the way that a child is when they begin to experience "firsts". I can only imagine that this childish behaviour will get stronger and more prevalent, particularly when I have children of my own, through whose eyes I can view the world all over again.
A witch. I sure can be. Cross me once and you'll sense her, lurking in the shadows. Cross me twice and you might catch a glimpse of the pointed hat and greenish pallor. Dare to cross me three times, something wicked your way comes. It's true I prefer to cast my spells from afar and I'm a docile, sensitive person by character. It takes a lot to set my inner witch flying off on her broomstick, but those very few souls that have summoned her out of me will take that haunting with them to the grave, I'm certain.
A cat. Outwardly, I'm a dog person. But I embrace my inner feline and revel in this side of myself. It's the side that allows me to stretch out long and proud in the sunlight and bask for hours without guilt. It's the fiercely independent side that knows that I can and will kill for my supper if I ever need to. My inner cat lets me see in the dark and ensures that no matter how far I fall, I'll always land firmly on my feet.
A candle. One of my stranger costumes, thought up by yours truly during one of my more creative childhood years. I'll always remember the look of panic on Mom's face when I told her that's what I wanted to be. Thank God for Commie who stepped up and helped us develop the biggest, bluest candle costume ever. Imagine two metal rings, a long tube of blue felt and a bright red toque with a giant red and orange cardboard flame stuck to it. I wore this to school people. TO SCHOOL. ME! Quiet, shy, reserved, me. Went to school dressed as a giant blue felt candle. I think this costume may well say more about who I really am than any of the others combined. There's a flame in there people, it's bright and it's hot. Sometimes it is so hot that is actually makes my outsides melt. I get so fired up with emotion that I cry big waxy blue tears at the simplest things. And I'm not afraid of that either. Those tears are what make me, well, me.
A fairy princess. I don't need to touch this one, do I? This has been my old stand-by costume for the last few years. It's a great way to release my inner girlie girl, throw on a tiara and wave my sparkly magic wand around at people. It's fun, it's frivolous, it's fancy. Enough said.
October 31, 2005. Possibly the first year ever that I've not done anything for Halloween. No costume (my black and white ghost pjs don't count). I'm 30 years old and sitting here, stripped of costumes. So where does that leave me now. Who am I?
I am a clown, a baby, a witch, a cat, a candle and a fairy princess. I am every costume that I have ever worn and every costume that I will wear from now on. If it seems convoluted, that's because it is.
Who am I? I am convoluted. And I wouldn't want it any other way.