Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Everyday is Halloween

Nothing made me happier than Halloween. I always wished it were everyday.  It was that magical event when you could be anything or anyone you’ve ever imagined, without fear of being made fun of or ridiculed.  To me it was even better than Christmas.  As a child Halloween was an exciting and transformative night.   There was candy, creative costumes, and haunted houses.  I loved it all. 

I’ve always looked forward to dressing up, especially as someone else.  I guess it came naturally to me. 
As far as costumes go, I don’t recall veering too far off the gender path as a child. I now wonder if I ever tried?  But I wasn’t the only one in my family that loved transformations.  I vividly recall two of my brothers competing in high school Halloween costume contests and completely changing themselves in the process.  As an adolescent struggling with my identity, I was impacted by their courage and willingness to express themselves.  Years later, when it was my turn in high school, my effort was clearly less impressive.  My costume was very last minute and not over-the-top like my brothers, yet apparently what I wore was memorable to a few of classmates.  I did wear tights and colorful briefs as I hosted the school-wide costume contest.  I guess it was a start. 

Halloween was special.  Under its shadow I was able to express myself with less fear, while exploring numerous identities, including my gender.  This creative outlet continued, and for years I found comfort with the darkness beyond the holiday itself.  Those feelings started to change a few years ago.  I wasn’t completely out yet and only a few close friends knew I was a transwoman on the inside.  That fall I put together what I thought was a pretty gory and sexy Alice in Zombieland costume, complete with fake blood oozing from my mouth. The makeup alone took two hours.  I had a decent time going out and I even entered a contest.  But the night ended like it began; I arrived alone and went home alone.

No more than two months later that I found the strength to start transitioning.  By the following summer I was living as Gia and life was getting better.  Strangely, as Halloween approached, I notice something was missing.  I didn’t want to dress-up at all. It was the first time in 40 years I didn’t participate in my favorite holiday.  I had changed in ways I hadn’t considered.  I know the excitement and thrill of this special day will return.  For now I’m more than happy knowing I don’t have to pretend to be someone else the rest of the year.

Happy Halloween!