By Kathleen Ferrick
As Halloween time gets closer yet again, I have been thinking about the holiday in a different way than in years past. During my childhood I never gravitated towards the scarier costumes, always opting for something I thought was pretty (the very stereotypical bride or princess) or cute (kitty, teddy bear, etc.).
Even though my days of dressing up for trick-or-treating are behind me, the ways in which I continue to celebrate the holiday still remain very “unscary”. I cannot bear to sit through horror films and the thought of going to a haunted house is about the farthest thing imaginable from my idea of fun. I have many Halloween-enthused friends who view the holiday as their only opportunity to really embrace what they describe as the “darker side.”
I know it may be a bit of a stretch but these reflections make me consider the ways different people confront what frighten them. When it comes to confronting our own demons, those demons that exist far beyond the scope of the Halloween holiday, we all engage/cope with them in countless unique ways. I’m the kind of person that has to wrestle with issues internally first. I cope with my demons, initially, by being with them by myself, then I’m able to lean forward and allow others in. But I have friends who want to put it all out there right away, whether by going to therapy immediately or processing out loud with friends, they begin by leaning forward.
What I think I’m getting at here is the relevance of cultivating a sense of appreciation for varying ways of working with and healing from pain and trauma. Again, to borrow from my admittedly corny/silly Halloween metaphor, some people experience greater comfort in diving in head first, so to speak, while others are more inclined to step back a bit.