Saturday, October 31, 2015

Consider Claiming Halloween, Feminists

I was better than Beyonce.
What a fun sentence that is to write. But, it's true. Last year, I was hands down better than Beyonce and her Halloween costume. While she has more money, fame, and skin pigmentation (so jealous of that last one) than I do, her version of Frida Kahlo paled in comparison to mine. I can prove it.

Her Frida Kahlo:
Photo credit: US Magazine
My Frida Kahlo:

I look fierce and pale as my skin is, I otherwise nailed it. The surprising things about this was people's reactions. First, the majority of people did not know who I was (sad), and presenting myself to the world with atypical beauty (a lot of facial hair) made people uncomfortable: staring, staggering backwards, not looking at me when talking. It was quite the experience.  I wasn't fitting their mold. 

And it made me remember what Tina Fey said in Mean Girls and reminded me of Community Season 1 "Intro to Statistics" episode:

Annie: Oh Britta! You look adorable.

Yes, I do know. Do you?

I've been thinking about it and the expectation that women will wear a sexualized costume on Halloween is wrong. To be sure, women can be all the things: smart, funny, cute, strong, sexy. 
But October 31 feels like a messed up Neil Armstrong quote:

That's one skimpy costume for women, One giant leap backward for womankind. 

As a woman I want to be taken seriously. I want to be able to work and be paid the same as my male counterparts. I want justice when people harass and abuse me/us. And yeah, I want to look sexy, but for me, I want to do that on my terms: my own time, in my own way, not on a specific date with a costume from a bag that frankly should involve more cloth. 

So, I submit to you an idea:
If you're a girl, reject the Halloween costume industry. Here are some reasons why:

1.) Education & Appreciation
I was a famous historical noteworthy woman who everyone should know. It was a little discouraging that people didn't know who Friday Kahlo was, but that makes it all the more important to educate them on WHY she's a big deal.  

2.) The Whole Enchilada: Brains, Beauty, and Creativity
You won't be dressed like anyone else because you thought of it yourself. No hiding in the bathroom for you. You can proudly say you thought of your costume yourself, made it and are owning it. Those are pretty hot.
American Girl Dolls

3.) Living It Out
This year, I dyed my hair red on a whim. It was late at night when my inhibitions were down, but in the morning was embraced as Kimmy Schmidt---my favorite role model for resilience in 2015. By being like her, by committing to the role, I felt stronger. It came at a good time, because I was feeling more brittle than unbreakable. 

4.) Womanhood
Think of the future. I want to use this holiday from here on out to be someone notable and praiseworthy and to inspire other women to do likewise. Who knows, maybe it can propel us into a better place. Maybe that way our daughters won't understand or be able to understand Mean Girls. Now there's a thought. 

Who will I be next year? Brene Brown? Marie Curie? Not sure. But I can promise to keep the bar raised high and my hemlines low. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Warning: Coloring Club Brings Out Inner Child

Coloring and coloring books designed for adults is an ongoing new trend. It's a way to unwind and let go of the day. The difficulty in relaxation via coloring is you let your guard down to being yourself. The self that I am, I discovered, is a competitive take-no-prisoners coloring champion.

I know this because when someone jokingly asked me if I was feeling competitive I said,
"Yes. But I'm competing against myself and clearly I'm winning." 
Then as proof I held up my artwork. I was not joking; something had come over me.

I'd been looking forward to City in a Jar's first Coloring Club Night for a full month--RSVPed, blacked out the evening on my calendar, etc. Even though every correspondence stated Blick Art Supplies had generously donated coloring pencils and crayons (and they sure did!), I wasn't leaving the evening to chance. I carried in my own 48 crayons conspicuously bulging out of my purse.

I can say it was a little intimidating walking into Urban Chestnut knowing no one. High school cafeterias sprang to mind. I credit the communal tables. The 48 crayons, at at that point of the evening, made me feel a little too overeager and sheepish as I scanned the crowd. I saw no other 20/30 somethings toting personal boxes of crayons.

After checking myself in and locating the gorgeous artwork by Julie Hill Drawings, I had to find a spot.


I'd sniffed out between checking in and getting the art, this was not a roll in stag sort of event. People came in alone and united with friends. They were in tight clusters of 3 to 7, which made it necessary to utter the dreaded words,

"Can I sit here?"

Thankfully, I got a "yes," as an answer, and got to tuck into some great coloring.

Later, when someone walked up to my table and asked if she could use some of our crayons, I felt a little too good. I immediately gave myself a pat on the back for being prepared. I'd scooted down and told myself I would share, if she sat next to me, but in between back pats the other table members said "No."

She was forced to either 1.) steal the crayons** or 2.) walk away. She moved on, and I realized our true selves, our inner children (as promised) were coming out, and apparently, they don't like sharing.

So, what did I learn at coloring club? 

1.) Go it alone (if you can't locate friends to come with),
2.) Come prepared; it can't hurt. 
3.) Reign in your inner child: share and scoot over
3.) Soak in as much as possible. 

Really, I haven't changed very much from childhood to now.

Want to share my crayons with me next time? Let's be friends and go together. RSVP here, and don't wait too long. Tickets are limited.

**I may need to write a short story about an adult who steals the crayons at coloring book night and the fallout that occurs because of it. Spoiler alert: it will escalate quickly.