Friday, October 31, 2008

"You know what they have now? Devil's Night greeting cards..."

I used to love Halloween. I mean I loved it like there was no other holiday. Every year I looked forward to what I would be. It was ridiculous the fervor with which I anticipated this holiday. And my reasoning was not a good one. See, most kids like All Hallows Eve because of the candy, or the trick-or-treating, or to see what cool costume they can wear.

Not me. I looked forward to Halloween because finally, for one day out of the year, I didn't have to be me.

Kinda pathetic, huh?

Even as a kid, I was such a useless, sappy little loser that I literally hated being me. A white, middle-class kid with a loving home, two sets of parents who loved me, and a pretty solid upbringing, and I thought I was such a waste because no one outside my family saw me as special. As better than everyone else in SOME way, like the jocks were at sports, and the super smart kids were in class, and the good-looking, smooth-talkers were with the girls (yep, even in middle school we had smooth-talkers).

I was ordinary. And I hated being ordinary.

I was so upset one Halloween in High School because I couldn't find the costume I wanted (that wasn't the only thing wrong, by a long shot), that I wound up spending about a month in a psychiatric ward for teens. All because I missed my chance to be special for a day.

Don't worry, I can now look back and see what a moron I was. Promise. But I bring this up for two reasons.
1) The's Halloween and people everywhere are talking about what a fun day it is. But I'm a cynic, so I don't do shiny and happy. Shiny and Happy are not exactly noir, now are they?

2) I see, every day, the same white upper-middle-class kids bemoaning their lives because the world won't function according to what they see as right, or appropriate. Won't think THEIR way is special. And more and more, I see people in the world taking these kids' side because those kids could be damaged.

Get a grip.

There are too many things all around this globe that are so much worse than what these kids deal with every day, and yet they can't get past their own perceptions and walk in someone else's shoes for a bit. If they could, there might be less whining and drama, and more hard work and production and appreciation for life going on.

So this is my PSA for the day, soapbox and all. If your son or daughter is in the same weepy, narcissistic-but-self-loathing state I was, then sit them down and help them find a little perspective.

And if you are one of these kids who sees yourself at the center of all that the world is sending crashing down on your head?
Take a deep breath, a look in the mirror, and make YOURSELF special. Stop waiting for the world to find you. Put yourself out and there and say, "Dammit, I'm special." Then, when the world ignores, laughs at, or degrades you for doing so...keep working to make yourself special. Keep doing it until that one day when someone you're not related to says, "Hey! You're right!"

And that'll just be the start. Sorta like writing and publication, huh?
Happy Halloween, everybody.

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