Like most people, I grew up with parents who told me, “you can be whatever you want when you grow up.” Well, obviously, since I am here in jeans typing, rather than fighting bad guys in a tight spandex suit, my parents were a bit misguided in their statement. But, I can’t help but think that the person I was on Halloween affected the adult I am today.
As a kid I was dedicated to the idea that I would be chosen as the next Power Ranger. I lived my life hanging out in the cul-de-sac looking for power crystals and training in various ways to meet my goals – but the only time I really got to ‘suit up’ was on Halloween. I guess as kids we all have a duty to our dreams, but while some wished to be princesses, I wanted to save the world from evil – which was kind of funny considering how unbelievably safe my upbringing was. Today, it’s probably been twelve or so years since I have suited up, but I think a part of me still wants to become the hero I was never able to be back then.
The header above shows one of the last years I was a Power Ranger for Halloween, one of the last times before my mom cut me off from store bought costumes and pushed me into more creative home made options – but I never strayed too far from the hero lifestyle. For years I was a spy, one year I was a “rapping bunny” where I wore my Reese’s hat turned to the side, and by college I moved into cops and robbers and whatever other ‘hot mess’ I could turn myself into. But why is this all relevant? Why does the person I was behind the mask influence who I am in front of the screen or on the keyboard?
Well, that answer is best explained by the inspiration of this post — my favorite show, “The Bold Type.” So a little background: In 2017, Freeform (ABC Family) established one of the most politically and socially relevant television dramas to date. The show, properly titled ‘The Bold Type,’ features three strong young women who work for fictional periodical, ‘Scarlett Magazine’ and work together to traverse life, love, politics, and friendship. Currently on its second season ‘The Bold Type’ continues to be, not only, one of my favorite shows, contrasting struggle and triumph in the modern age, but also creates one of the most socially and politically relevant conversations that young viewers have access to on television.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “this is just another chick flick” and sure, while the show features highly feminist themes and independent roles, I’d argue that this show is for everyone. You see, what some fail to realize is that Feminism is the practice of believing in equal rights amongst males and females. Feminism is not the radical, nor is it the tame end of the feminist spectrum, but it is a little bit of everything. It’s everything, from the good, the bad, and the outspoken. Thus, anyone can be a feminist, and beyond that, everyone should be, because everyone can enjoy a show that better explains feminism and so much more as it pertains to the world we live in today.
Now, before I get carried away, or introduce unwanted spoilers I want to change my tune – Upon watching last week’s episode, Jane, the writer in the show, posed a question (a pitch) I would like to follow up on. The pitch read, “Does your childhood Halloween costume predict your future?” and after hearing that, I got to thinking… and what I want to know is… well, does it? How much does the person or thing we pretend to be for one night a year effect the trajectory of our lives? I want to know, “Does my (your) childhood Halloween costume predict your future?”
As I mentioned before, my childhood costume of choice was a Power Ranger (shown above with puffed out muscles of course). And as a young girl [ a tomboy no less] I did not subscribe to the traditional fairy princess costume affair, but what does that say about the person I am today? Even without the suit, has some semblance of Power Ranger life lived on within me? Are we destined to become the masks we wear, or can we simply be heroes with or without the super suit?
Well in my opinion, yes. I think as kids we are quick to become our idols. For example, in “The Bold Type” Jane became a writer because after losing her mother at an early age, ‘Scarlett Mag’ became the older sister she never had. She became a writer to be that same kind of person for others just as I became a writer for the similar reason of being able to talk about grief in ways that many writers don’t, but even more than that I wanted to be the hero that I failed to find through the losses I faced.
See when I started writing, my power didn’t come with a super suit, but I guess the heroes I always looked up to were not heroes because of what they wore, but because of the way they acted. The Power Rangers were heroes because they had an apparent sensibility for respect and a guiding sense of morality – and I wanted to be like them, not because they were heroes but because they had a constant need to do what was right, and a desire to work hard to do good.
I guess what I am trying to say is that the heroes, and the costumes that we wear as children do reflect who we grow up to be. They are our childhood daydreams manifested in a few pictures, moments, nights, and sugar comas, they are the people we play when we play dress up – and in those moments we get to be the people we truly want to be without any restrictions or rules.
With that, maybe the question shouldn’t be “Does your childhood Halloween costume predict your future?” but how does/have the costumes you wore on Halloween as a kid affect the person you are today? And what makes you grateful for those opportunities?
I think our childhood Halloween costume does predict the future, and while I might not be a Power Ranger [yet] I think one day I will be able to save the world… I just have to figure out what power I’ll use to do it.