It was a day like today. The leaves had already changed and the trees were nearly empty. There was a crazy little stir in our bellies which would only happen once in a year. There was something to this day called Halloween. There was something about the scary movies and the long list of candies which were readily available except, of course, when there was the stirring little fears of danger because (and I’m sure this must have happened somewhere but . . .) there were always tales of someone tampering with candies or putting pins in chocolate bars. But I never saw anything like that.
Today is Halloween. It’s a day for the kids. It’s a day to dress up in a costume, be wild, have fun and, if the mood strikes, you can always knock on someone’s door and say “trick or treat.”
This was also a day when in my youth, my young hoodlum friends and I would bash each other with egg fights and shaving cream wars. I swear this was a blast.
However, I do have a memory of certain people who would ride around the neighborhood with fire-extinguishers too and yes, admittedly, there were some nasty liquids placed in some of those fire-extinguishers (allegedly).
But still, there was a time when all was innocent and less wild or destructive. There was a time when little kids were as cute as can be and they’d put on little costumes and went door to door with little plastic pumpkins. I can see this in my mind’s eye. I can see them, little kids, too shy to speak or hardly able to say the words “trick or treat” and behind them would be beaming parents.
Behind them was a mother, a father, smiling brighter than ever and proud as their child looked into their bucket of candy with a curious expression.
What’s funny about this is most parents eat the candy too. In all honesty, some of the kids don’t eat candy at all. And well, “oh well,” I guess it’s the parents’ job to eat a few Kit-Kat bars (my favorite) or some Milky Ways or 3 Musketeers were always good too. Admittedly, I’m definitely a Twix fan. Nestlé’s Crunch is always a good choice as well.
If we’re going to talk about the sugary favorites, I suppose that we have to go into the hard candies. We should talk about little boxes of Nerds or Jawbreakers. I always liked Jawbreakers. There was also a candy known as Red-Hots, but this was not a Halloween favorite. There were some wrapped bubble gums too. Bazooka Joe’s were great too. Oh, and then there were Pixie Sticks which is literally a straw of flavored sugar. Then there was Fun-Dip and that was nothing else but a pouch of flavored sugar with a little edible stick that was made from solidified sugar and yes, I used to love them too.
There was a little girl who I once knew and she was so beautiful. She was tiny as ever and wearing a Cinderella dress with a little tiara on her head. She didn’t like candy. She didn’t like them at all but she loved to dress up as her favorite Disney characters and she loved to go trick or treating.
I offer this note to those in the world who forget that youth only comes once. I offer this to those who lose themselves to the interpersonal battles and arguments that go along with divorce proceedings. I offer this as testimony that there is no reverse and no way to relive youth or retrieve the past.
I offer this wholeheartedly and openly as well as heavily and introspectively because I can tell you that a time will come when the windows of opportunity will shut. The so-called important arguments will eventually become unimportant.
A time will come when you’ve lost to the arguments or your prideful battles the same as water loses to a drain. Now, all that’s left is the idea that you have been flushed away because the idea of being right was your top priority.
There are times when we get in our own way. There are ideas within us that betray our best interest and there are thoughts which lead to the movie that we play in our minds (which never end well) and again, we lose to these thoughts or ideas. Next, all we can do is survive the outcome and endure the aftermath or the consequences from our battles.
That little girl is all grown up now . . .
There is a thing that people struggle with. As wild as this sounds, this thing is still very real. In fact, this thing is painfully real for so many people. There is a thing about having fun or understanding how to live without being protected by an invisible wall. There’s a thing about letting yourself go, without judgment, or allowing yourself to enjoy an occasion. There’s a thing about allowing yourself to “be a kid” or for the moment, to play or to pretend. There is a worrisome fact about rejections from our past that interrupt our abilities to relax and enjoy the moment.
This occurs in different variations because as people, we vary with experience. We vary in backgrounds and with cultural differences. However, there are people who struggle with either an inner despair or awkwardness so sensitive and so worried that having fun is a tough step to take.
There’s always a worry. There’s always a sense of impending doom.
There are childhood snags and subconscious memories that program our thinking and prevent us from allowing the moment to be free. We do this because of our personal science or pathology; or to explain this a bit easier, we do this because of an old or past judgment or unresolved tension.
For example; there are times when there was a smile or a moment of excitement and at that moment, there was a connection with an idea or an assumption of rejection. There was an interruption or theft of service which led to a regretful assumption that leads a person to say “I never want to go through that again!”
To be clear, this is why kids stop playing with their toys or they stop dressing up because for some reason (and at some point) someone comes along and tells you “Stop acting like a kid.”
What terrible advice this truly is . . .
Now, I do not say this is true for everyone; however, I do see connections that coexist with memories of happiness that were interrupted by rejection.
I can see why, as adults, we are overly critical of ourselves and why our nature is to guard us from past rejections or unresolved tensions. I see this because deep down, we’re still those kids who just want to have fun without the tally of judgment or bullshit interruptions.
I can see how the cognizant remnants from our past influence our preconceived fears, predictions and judgments on what goes on around us today. I can see where our predictions come from and how this coincides with the lessons from our past.
I can also see how these lessons are neither accurate nor inaccurate but instead, these things can be magnified or distorted by interpretation and the deception of our perception.
Memories are funny that way. However, our connection to these memories is what directs us to our future and present day lives.
There was a song by John Mayer that sings about fathers being good to their daughters because daughters will love like we do. Then the song goes on to explain that girls become lovers who turn into mothers. So mothers should be good to their daughters too. I like this song.
Today is Halloween. Maybe we can dress up. Maybe we can pretend. Or, well, I’d love to say that we could gather for an egg fight or a shaving cream war but work might frown upon this.
I remember being this teenage kid and while running crazy through the streets of my little town, there was a group of adults who were dressed up in costumes. They were all big and they were all certain to tell us that if we messed with them in any way, we would be severely hurt. Of course we obeyed; but more, I have no real memories from my youth on Halloween, at least not really.
But this one stands out. I suppose this stands out because the impressiveness to me of someone who dares to live without considering the critics is the most freeing idea in the world (at least to me).
I wish that group of people knew what I thought. And too, there was a piece of me that wished I could have left with them and simply “just had fun.”
I think, at best, I tried to duplicate their Halloween enthusiasm. I knocked on a door to trick or treat while on the way to meet up with another group.
I did this and mostly incoherently, distorted, and certainly on candies of an illegal sort; the door opened and I was asked who I was dressed as. Perhaps, this was asked of me because I was not in costume.
My face was red. My eyes were teary and wild and it was clear that I was not in good standing by any means. My hair was long and my shirt probably had a skull on it – or if I’m not mistaken, I think I was wearing a Black Sabbath concert t-shirt.
I was probably staggering, which is most likely true. However, if my memory serves, which it probably doesn’t – I remember screaming, “I am the god of hellfire!” to which the person slammed the door shut in my face; and all that I could think to respond was the word “Bitch” in a loud scream – and that was it.
I do not compare this to you or anyone else. Instead, I mark this as a measure of my own past and in this detail, I look back and see different areas in my life where I wished I could’ve stepped in and said “Hey, that’s not right.”
Fun is a lesson. As parents and as people connected and coincided with each other’s life, it’s important that we encourage each other and support one another because it’s true. We all have a detailed past and we all have memories and cognitive traps that lead us to wrongful assumptions.
It’s not always an easy thing for people to “let go.”
I get it, but . . .
Today is a day to have fun. This is something that I am learning to do. This is a permission that I’ve learned to give myself; to let go, to disregard the critics, and to laugh without worry because to me, I think this is beautiful.
I think this is what it means to be free; in which case, I can’t say I’m free just yet. But I can say that I’m not a prisoner anymore – to myself, that is.
I’m working on this.
Kit-Kats and 3 Musketeers, a smile, a laugh
and that’s all I’ll need for today.
Just have to remember to say trick or treat.
Don’t forget Snickers bars….. MY favorite!!