The memo across social media is clear – it is time to embrace the Fall/Halloween Season! – despite it only being August. If you vibe with “Halloween being 365 days a year,” you immediately understand what I am referring to. But, for many of you, August is much too early to be thinking about an activity in late Fall, and I can only imagine what people around the world think; those from countries that don’t even celebrate Halloween and/or have a completely different concept of a Fall Aesthetic.
For all of my readers, I am proud to announce that I am an ordinary spooky hippy, and this is a huge part of who I am.
But why is it worth writing a whole blog post?
There is an inundation of “serious” issues in our world. These problems, injustices, and struggles are not disappearing any time soon. But despite our constant need to endure, survive, or advocate, life is also meant to possess a lot of joy. Each person has permission to seek that joy in their own way. The spooky aesthetic is one place that I have always found joy and comfort, no matter how trivial a thing it may be in the grand perspective of the world. Size or perceived importance does not diminish the value or contribution of something in our lives, or in the lives of others.
While the visual aesthetic is certainly alluring, it is most often the people who are represented in spooky season, in gothic media, in indie communities, that I resonate with the most. I watch the Addams family and I see a non-conforming family that embraces their history, culture, and personal interests without apologizing to the world around them. I find strong women, respectful men, model relationships, and humanity. In the films of Tim Burton I find characters that look different from everyone else, but who embody the same struggles and life questions that I have experienced. For every moment that I feel or have felt that I don’t fit in or vibe differently than others, in this sub-culture I see people (or representations of people) who share my own heart and spirit.
When I see amazingly talented and beautiful make-up, looks inspired by cosplay, haunt make-up, or just spooky glam make-up, I find a meditative activity where I can make my identity and personality whatever I want for a few moments. I can channel a different energy, and I can process my own trauma and stress, and heal into the person that I have become, and continue to become.
Pumpkin Spice may have overtaken Instagram, but there is a comfort in the spices used in traditional fall foods, especially beverages and baked goods; spices that carry with them ancient histories and beautiful cultures.
While this may seem nothing more than an enthusiastic rant of my favorite season and holiday, it is actually a very personal post to write.
You do not have to be a fan of fall or halloween aesthetics. You do not need to start celebrations early. But it is often in surprising places that we find ourselves, that we create our own healing, and that we find community. First and foremost, allow yourself to find your own joy – it is a human right.
And by that same extension, if it is a human right for you to find and embrace your own joy, then it is also the right of everyone else to be respected by you for that choice. I have found comfort in fictional communities, not because I am out of touch with reality, but because there have been moments of my life where those fictional communities, or those sub-cultures, were the only place that I could find the acceptance of self that I was seeking.
I am fortunate and blessed to say that I have reached a point in my life where I am unapologetically comfortable in my own skin, in my own eclectic and quirky personality, and I have the real life people beside me to support me. But this was not always the reality, and is not always the reality for those around us.
This reflection is about finding joy and allowing yourself to fall into your own definition of yourself. And as you undertake your own journey of allowing yourself this sense of self-awareness and acceptance, extend the same generosity to others. We are all weird in our own ways, but there is an unfortunate epidemic, nearly since the beginning of time, that humans decided that we have the authority to make judgments on others, that we alone can decide what is fruitful to nurture our spirit.
We aren’t all going to be fans of the aesthetic, sub-culture, fashion, interests, etc. of the people we meet. Our expectation should not be homogeneity, but should instead be the celebration of our uniqueness.
To borrow a part of rave culture that sums it all up: “peace, love, unity, and respect.”
It is time to make this a universal default, with or without a pumpkin spice latte in hand.