A few week’s ago I found myself looking through my rarely opened jewelry box for a pair of silver earnings to go with the silver necklace that I had, much to my surprise, decided to wear with my silvery gray skirt and charcoal camesol. In addition to matching earrings I came across a couple of silver bangles that had belonged to my mother and as I slid them on my wrist I gave them a shake just to hear them jangle. Looking at myself it the mirror I liked what I saw and had to laugh when I thought – OMG – I am turning into someone else – from someone who sports little or no adornment except for my always gold shell earrings – into someone who accessorizes.

It was intriguing to be behold my metamorphosis, arisen seemingly out of the blue. It’s not like I’d decided it was time to wear jewelry. I just woke up that morning and voila – like Imogine, a character in a favorite children’s book who woke up one day and found that she had antlers. Not quite the same thing because she couldn’t take her’s off and it was hard to get through doorways – but the fact that I even thought of Imogene confirmed that something in me is changing and one of the ways it is showing is in my new found accessorizing. I have since unearthed my pearls and pearl earrings and have been wearing matching jewelry more often than not. It makes me feel as my mother would say, ‘put together’ and having often admired other’s who wear beautiful necklaces and matching earrings and bracelets – I am becoming what I admire.

So it’s not surprising that Halloween got me thinking about shape shifting, costumes, dress up and the fun people have turning themselves into something or someone else –liberated from the suit and tie or the usual uniform that, if the costume is really good and includes a mask –will mean no one will even no who you are and you get to try on not only new looks but new personas, ways of walking, talking, flying and slithering, sliding, gliding – wand or sword in hand and perhaps sporting a crown or, my favorite wings.

I loved Halloween it as a kid because I got to dress up as a princess, a mermaid and as Little Miss Muffet and ,in a posse rang every doorbell in the 15 story building I grew up in. When I got older, I trick or treated in even bigger apartment buildings, hauling home bags and bags of candy and apples and the occasional nickel (this way a long time ago).

I loved making costumes for my daughter and walking her around east end condos where trick or treaters were welcome but, as an adult, I haven’t been so big on costumes. Considering that I’m turning into someone who accessorizes I am taking a fresh look at the dress-up part of Halloween and see a great coaching exercise and transformational tool not to mention a lot of fun.

Clark Kent knew the power of the cape and that all is took was ducking into a phone booth to turn into Superman. Royalty dons bejeweled crowns, the priesthood collars and mitres and an engagement ring indicates a change in inner and outer status and all you have to do is pick up a copy of a woman’s magazine and look at the make-over section to see people transformed from ordinary, uninspired, everyday even frumpy to extraordinary, glamorous, special occasion, stylish.
Sustainable change may be an inside job but costume change, as any actor knows is a powerful approach to gaining access to a way of being and seeing and being seen anew. Halloween and costumes in general allow the average person to bring dramatic expression into everyday life. Even deeper than that, it provides an opportunity to express aspects of personality that might otherwise remain dormant and we get a chance to “act out” parts of ourselves that we normally keep private or haven’t yet explored.

I’ll save my wings for special occasions but the pearls are glowing and calling my name and I hope you’ll be inspired to use dress up as your own personal transformation exercise. Have fun.

2 Responses to Dress- up for Transformation (or Happy Un-Halloween) by Anne Nayer, Coach Paradise

  • Joan Bennett says:

    Halloween is one of my favorite holidays for the same reasons you mention. Having ground up in an extremely prudish household, Halloween was always the holiday where my “Shadow Self” could emerge. Love it!

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