The Story of a High School Student’s Decision to Wear What She Wanted and Loved It
By: Madison Weinberg
On October 29 of last year, in the spirit of Halloween’s arrival the following Saturday, I made the bold decision to wear my costume to school. I knew it was likely that I would be the only one dressed up, but there I was, strolling down the hallways in an orange hippie dress with a matching headband, fringe boots, and a large peace-sign necklace swinging as I walked. And as eyes seemed to linger and people asked me what I was wearing, my little insecure self somehow felt infinitely happy.
A strange phenomenon occurs when we reach about 7th grade: we start putting real value into what others think about us, especially our peers and especially those we deem “cool.” We change how we dress, act, talk, and view the world just to fit a mold we believe will make people happy and, in turn, we hope will make us happy. Coolness is our currency as teenagers, exchanged in silent smirks when someone does something cringey and approaching every situation with earbuds in and arms crossed defensively. Our existences indulge in a constant mental battle of whether or not we tip the scale and begin to act like our real selves or succumb to the expectations of nonchalance and feigned adultness. When the latter is chosen (it often is), out the window goes the enthusiasm, the playfulness, and the innocence we assumed as young children. To put it plainly, the fun is sucked out of life and vacuum-sealed until we decide to let it back out again. But perhaps it doesn’t have to be this way.
After the daunting experience of entering school wearing a costume and not knowing whether people might judge me or not, I came to find that I wasn’t alone in my choice. A group of seniors were dressed up as characters from Scooby Doo. My friend’s freshman sister was Wanda from WandaVision, and her friend had Sarah Sanderson’s full Hocus Pocus dress and wig equipped. I even spotted Jesus wandering around school. Upon the recognition of other costumed people, we all smiled and complimented each other’s ensembles. It felt like a sort of validation. Hey, we both decided to maybe look a little ridiculous, but at least we aren’t the only ones!
I think here, in the uber-specific and (seasonally) muddled example of wearing Halloween costumes to school, is where the solution to our predicament lies. In order for us to embrace who we really are and harness the most happiness out of our current realities, we must see others do it with us. So I implore you to begin making decisions that may be outside of your comfortable conformity to the unspoken rules we have created. Let the eyes roll, and heads turn with a knowing smile on your face, and let the people that will stick with you even after you’ve worn an inflatable dinosaur costume to class drift your way. Or don’t. The beauty of the matter is that the choice of approaching your life with enthusiasm and taking a step towards collective joy is completely and utterly yours.
Published 10/15/2022 – October Edition