October 29, 2010

fear and holloween

Growing up, my family never celebrated Halloween. In fact, the entire month of October felt like a countdown to the scariest night of the year. I was not allowed to trick or treat, but rather attended "Hallelujah Night" at whatever church we happened to be attending that year. No watching "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (deemed to evil). No "Casper the Friendly Ghost" (and I totally wanted to watch the Christina Ricci version that came out in the 90's... sigh).

My life was always quite insulated. If my family happened to be home on Halloween, we absolutely DID NOT hand out candy. Lights out. Windows closed. My sweet mother (whom never intentionally meant to scare my sister and I) would tell us news reports about poisoned candy given to children on Holloween. Even our little black poodle, Missy, was not allowed to go outside after dark, because my parents feared that someone would try to steal her.

As a high school student, I took great pride in my disdain for Halloween. I have no specific memory of the conversations I had concerning the topic, but I assume they went something like this, "Oh, you are dressing up for THAT day?" said with a judgmental brow. "Just be sure to pray over your candy before you eat it". Yes, apparently, I was the morality police... no, the sheriff (more authority) and that meant that I had a license to judge.

 Then imagine my shock to find out that my older sister, Angie, who was in college at the time, actually dressed up and went trick or treating with her friends! I could not believe it! Wasn't she scared of the poisoned apples and razorblades chocolates? Of course I prayed for her..... Now I look back at my fear driven beliefs with a huge amount of embarrassment. Perhaps I was taking this a bit to seriously.

You see, at a certain point as an adult, you have to decide how you are going to live your life in all aspects. From the food you will eat to the music you will listen to. From the religion (if any) you will practice to the relationships you cultivate and maintain. And even still, you have to decide if fear will rule your life.

Fear is an emotion that has had a grasp on my life for as long as I can remember. As happy and peppy as I may be, I am constantly fighting that "worst case scenario" in the back of my mind. I used to always made my decisions out of fear rather, and that was an unhealthy place to be. Fear has held me back from applying to my dream school, from leaving an unhappy job, even from putting my art up on Etsy. Nothing should have that much influence on your life.

Today, I am making a conscious decision to put all of my neurotic fears aside and to simply enjoy this season. I am going to be bold. I am going to be lighthearted. And I am going to enjoy dressing my daughter up in an adorable handmade ladybug costume and listen to her little lispy 2 year old voice try and say "trick-or-treat". Her little heart has no fear, and it is my job to protect her heart for as long as possible.

This is just my story. My journey. Who new something as small as Halloween could teach me so much about myself?

Oh, and if your view on Halloween, or anything, for that matter, differ from mine, that is A okay in my book!