Despite the fact that as an adult I’ve never much liked wearing costumes, “playing dressup” was a favourite source of amusement, providing hours and hours of fun and stimulating my fertile imagination, when I was a child.
My earliest dressup memory involves a white princess gown included as part of the stash of costumes in my kindergarten class. The girls all loved that dress, and would always squabble over who got to wear it at playtime each day!
I remember my absolute thrill when I was chosen to play the princess – which, of course, meant wearing The Dress – for the Christmas production our class presented to our parents… and that the boy selected to play the prince was someone my heart felt was pretty sweet was just the icing on the cake.
It’s interesting to look back on something from your childhood and remember it as being so much bigger and better and frillier and fancier than it actually was. Seeing that dress now, it’s really nothing special – but the power of our little imaginations and uncritical eyes turned it into something wondrous, a gown fit for a princess.
We could gain something valuable, I think, by learning to look at life with more of that childlike wonder.
I hunted high and low for a photo of me dressed up for Halloween, but was only able to find one picture. (I’m sure my parents have others somewhere in their stash – I seem to remember one of me costumed as a garage mechanic!) While my sister is clearly a nurse in this photo, I’m really not sure WHAT I was supposed to be!
I had found this old dress in the clothing swap at our university housing complex laundry room, and wore that thing all the time. I’m not sure what the attachment might have been, but for whatever reason I loved wearing that dress. I think I would have worn it to school if I’d been allowed! And somewhere along the line I had discovered that you could give yourself long hair (something I’d always wanted) by taking a pair of pantyhose, cutting each leg in three, and braiding them.
Creative crafting, 1970s style!
Looking back at these photos makes me smile at the memories, but also makes me rather wistful – because somewhere along the way I lost a little bit of my imagination and playfulness to self-consciousness and fear… I traded some of that wonder and delight for perfectionism and judgment… I shut off the easy ability to pretend and trained myself instead to focus on the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
I know it’s never too late. Listening to my instincts and buying a pink feather boa was a good start. And you know what? I even managed to wear it a couple of times! I’ll be back into the whole costume thing in no time, I’m sure.
Do you like dressing up in costumes?