Favored Old Friend: “What if”

Halloween is just past, and one of my favorite holidays. I didn’t dress up this year, between dragging the kidlet out (kidlet was a horse), and work and whatnot. And yet, I love dressing up because it allows me to consider my favorite “what if” of all time: what if we could really become who/what we pretend we are.

Yes, you say, this sounds like a familiar kind of quote. And it is. On the philosophical side, we ARE who we pretend to be, since that’s what we show the world. But I’m about is the “what if” of becoming the dragon you dress up as, the princess, the ghost.

No one captured this better, I think, than an episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” by Joss Whedon when one Halloween, the main characters become their costumes. Buffy, for example, is dressed as a 17th century damsel, and she becomes just that. Willow goes as a ghost – and becomes non-corporeal.  Xander is a military commander, and his plastic gun shoots bullets, and he saves everyone’s butt.

What if one day you could do that? Or what if everyday you could do that? Pull on the costume and presto! You have all the knowledge and background to BE that character. Imagine the possibility of seeing the world through so many different eyes and perspectives.

Of course, that’s not why I wanted to become my costume as a kid. Somewhere around the age of ten or twelve, I became obsessed with the 19th century. And maybe I’d read a few too many fantasies where the heroine is whisked back in time because of some magical doll, vortex, whatever. Somehow I started to become convinced that I’d mistakenly been whisked forward in future, and I really belonged back in the 19th century. Naturally my costumes had a historical flavor – not always 19th century, but the “idea” of the princess, the Elizabethan lady, the 19th century lady.

That, I think is the kicker. What we dress up as is the idea we have of some role, some existence. But it isn’t necessarily the reality. Take my 19th century obsession, for instance. I didn’t fully grasp at the time what it would mean for me, as a female, to be thrust back into that period. Just how different life would be. What would be expected of me – in decorum, action, speech, role.

So what would happen if the idea of a role and the reality collided? Hmm … sounds like a very interesting “what if” to me. 🙂

Who would you be if you could dress up and become anyone or anything? Come on, don’t be shy, comment below.

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!