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There’s a strange sort of power in appearance. Halloween tends to make me remember that, what with all the literal mask and make-up donning that goes on. It’s the one time of year it is socially acceptable to appear however you wish on the outside, and no one will judge you for it (unless, of course, you enter a costume contest).

But how many of us really dare to dress like our true selves? How many take this night, or any night for that matter, to be comfortable in our own skins?

I’ve been reading a lot more lately, and I finally fell into the Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. It was every bit as wondrous and dark as I could have hoped. I consumed it and the others in the series like one does when one finds a series that speaks to them. These books are about a lot of things: friendship, ravens, ley lines, fast cars, dreams, dead Welsh kings, curses, and the list goes on. One of the sentiments that stood out to me, though, was this internal desire/fear/wonder of looking on the outside like you feel on the inside.

Sometimes I think I might scare the world if I did that. Sometimes I kind of want to. Wearing a mask daily is difficult work when it’s not one that fits well. I’m constantly required to wear the mask of being okay, competent and calm, and a people-pleasing caregiver, when inside, I don’t feel like any of those things. Inside, I’m still working on okay, daydream-prone and passionate, and much more of an introvert who really only cares about her people (and could the rest please just go away now?).

It would be a relief to be myself in appearance on a regular basis, although it would probably make my day job more difficult. I’m required to follow a dress code, and wearing whatever I want isn’t part of it. Neither is being able to dye my hair any number of colors that I might want to, because for some reason, having purple and red highlights isn’t considered responsible. Never mind that if I dyed my hair or my tattooed skin or did any physical thing to my body, underneath, I’d still the same person.

Because appearances have power. Appearances are their own sort of magic.

But today, those rules don’t matter. Today is Halloween. Today I can decide to be more on the outside like I feel on the inside. And no one will care or think me any stranger or less for it. Maybe, in the future, I can find more days like that. Maybe we all can.

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