I’ve always loved Halloween, but I stopped dressing up for it when I was in middle school. It didn’t seem okay. Then, I became an adult, and it still didn’t seem okay.
I’m dressing up this year.
I found out yesterday that there’s a fundraiser going on by student council, and if you donate $5, as long as you don’t wear masks or something completely out of dress code, you can dress up on Monday. Students and teachers. The fundraiser is a benefit for me and another teacher who’s battling colon cancer. I didn’t (and still don’t, not really) know what to say. Thank you doesn’t seem to be enough, but it’s the only phrase I have.
So, for the first time in 25 years, I bought myself a Halloween costume. It’s a witch costume. And, I feel gorgeous in it, from the green and black hat to the green and black wig to the crushed velvet black dress to the spider web lace cape. I’m going to wear it trick or treating with S, who’s going as Maleficent, and AJ, who’s going as a Lego Ninjago.
I have so many good memories of past Halloweens. My dad taking me trick or treating. Wearing a pumpkin costume and sitting in my grandmother’s yard with my arms and head pulled inside the costume so I could scare unsuspecting trick or treaters. An angel costume my mom and my aunt made for me. Being 17 and helping to pass out candy at a certain boy’s house, and when I left to go home, a kiss from a boy who grew into the man I married.
Breast cancer might kill me. Part of me, a part I can’t shut up or silence, is absolutely convinced it will. So, if that’s the case, screw it. I get to be silly. I get to be a 38 year old dressed up as a witch. I get to feel pretty, which I haven’t felt in a long time. I get to go trick or treating with S and AJ, hoping they remember me with them as vividly as I remember my dad trick or treating with me.
After all, if breast cancer does kill me, I want my life defined by moments unrelated to my stupid cells that went stupid and caused me to develop cancer. I want to be remembered as more than a woman with breast cancer.