When I first moved to Arizona, I discovered a wonderful holiday called Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. The holiday is officially celebrated November1st, and it’s all about respect for the dead and remembering those we have lost. In Mexico, families travel to cemeteries with things like favorite dishes, favorite liquors, and sugar skulls (decorative candies in the shapes of skulls). Families leave these trinkets on the graves of their loved ones, and they basically hang out all day, telling stories, perhaps even weeping.
Although the holiday in itself comforts me, it is the imagery that fascinates me. Day of the Dead is all about calaveras—skeletons dressed as humans doing human things. They even have skeleton pets, and skulls, skulls, skulls. So of course, as an ode to this Mexican holiday I so adore, I decided to mix Day of the Dead with Halloween this year and become a walking sugar skull on Saturday night.
Hairstyle goddess Jessica did my hair; makeup genius Sabina (http://www.MakeupbySabina.com) painted my face. The painting took about an hour and a half. Costuming took about twenty minutes, while Jake had his own face painted to match mine. When all was said and done, when I was fully In Costume, I realized I felt a sudden and overwhelming sense of power. Was the corset cutting off oxygen to my brain? After weeks of being sick with the flu, did that first ginger and bourbon push me over the edge of Super Ego Land?
Nay. When I walked back into my living room, ready to hit the town, the eyes of those around me held the same shock and awe. It helped that my escort for the evening looked extraordinarily sexy, and together, we could hold a pose that would make a ghoul shiver in fright. Off we went to bar after bar, and never in my life have I felt so POWERFUL. There were men who looked at me in fear. There were men who asked me to dance, only to be rejected over and over. There were the girls who shrieked and fell down around me saying how amazing I looked. Then, there was Jake, and whenever I looked at him, I realized it wasn’t just me; there was something about being sexy and dead that really turned people on!
I plan to try and bring this sense of power to my daily life, especially since I suffer from social anxiety disorder, and my behavior Saturday night surprised even me. No, I probably won’t strut and cast bedroom eyes at, say, Safeway, but this Halloween weekend, I was reminded of what Halloween is all about: accepting and empowering an unfamiliar persona. In celebration of Day of the Dead, I came alive. I gave frightened men scalding glares. I danced, danced, and spun in my Flamenco skirt. Jake and I even won a costume contest for “Scariest Costume” and a two-night stay at a Vegas resort. There is power in being dead.
This was a spectacular Saturday night, not only because I won a prize but because I immersed myself in the culture I have come to love—that of Mexico and all its spooktacular holiday happenings. I became someone else—someone with power that vibrated and shook the sweet innocents who dared catch my eye. Oh, it was glorious. I’ll never forget the way it felt to be painted. I’ll never forget the extreme sexiness of my husband (even yesterday, when he still couldn’t get all the eye makeup to come off). I’ll never forget the POWER of being a ghoulish, dead goddess, all thanks to the imagination of hair and makeup artists and my sudden, inexplicable lack of fear.
And to think, there’s still Wednesday to look forward to …