Out of my Own Skin

17 Nov

Myrlande “M.C” Charelus

Mcharel@eagle.fgcu.edu

I am the type who is all about trying new things. I will try new food, music, and date out of my race; I am all about experiencing a new culture, but Halloween? It wasn’t one of the many things on my to-do list. To challenge myself, my professor suggested that I attend a Halloween party for extra credit.  Extra credit sounds great right now, but Halloween? Not so much.  At 23 years of age, I never thought I would be choosing a costume or going trick-or-treating!

I grew up in Haiti as a conservative Christian and Halloween is one of those holidays that most Haitians view differently from people in America. The view in America is that Halloween is just a time to have fun, get lots of candy and watch scary movies. In contrast to us, it is called “La fête des morts” which translates to as “the celebration of the dead.” As you may know, Voodoo is part of our culture, so people take the day off to go to the cemetery, clean it up, and they feed the “dead.” It sounds scary, right? Nevertheless, the good thing about it is that students do not have to worry about school that day; we get a day off on Halloween.

Because of the strong meaning behind it, it is strongly against our religion to celebrate such a day.  Instead of Halloween, most Haitians go to church and celebrate what we call “Hallelujah Night,” which is a night that lasts about two to three hours of worship and prays.

Anyways, enough has said about my culture. When it came to a costume, I did not even know who or what I wanted to be. People always tell me who my celebrity-look-alike is, so hey, why not look just like her? The fact that I look like someone I cannot stand made it even worse. I dressed like New York, VH1’s reality star. New York is this slutty-looking girl, and I did a damn good job looking like her. I looked like a tramp and I was embarrassed. My pink push-up bra was so tight, not only did I feel like my breasts were two sizes bigger than usual, but they were about to pop of my costume.

A woman has curves! However, my black, uniform, mini-skirt was extremely short and if it happened to be my lucky day by finding a one hundred dollar bill on the floor, I would not dare try to pick it up!  Of course my cowgirl, white shirt with the top three buttons unbuttoned wouldn’t feel right if it wasn’t a size too small.

I have never seen so many colors at once. The minute I opened that door, instead of a Halloween party, it felt like it was more like a “Skittles’ celebration.” Dang, I should have worn more color, but some people took it more seriously than I thought. Before the event started, in walked this “rapper,” impersonating Queen Latifah from the 1980s.  Her colorful jacket, hot pink leggings, rings on almost every finger, and knee high socks almost completed her image, but she killed it by carrying a boom box.  She looked like a crackhead who was in need of help, yet she was the center of attention.

One thing I can say about Halloween is that it would not be Halloween without candy. I love candy; in fact, I love food, period! I am the type who usually skips the party and goes straight toward the food zone, but this was different. My appetite was gone; all I did was stare at the food. I tried to eat some Twix chocolate, but it just didn’t feel the same.  I swear it looked and tasted like dog’s poop, (which I have never tasted before)! The pizza tasted like baby’s food: tasteless, unsalted and cold. I was starving and there was food, but I couldn’t eat.

Although the room was tiny with less than 30 people, the music was as loud as if we were at the club. They were playing my favorite songs, but I wasn’t in the mood to dance.  Everyone who came was having such a great time and, of course, what’s a great party without people dressing up like Lady Gaga while dancing to her music? The room was filling up with zombies, animals, princesses and celebrities, and they all were a big family who wanted to have fun, except me.

Since we are all theatre majors or minors, improv is what we do. It was something that I was actually looking forward to that night. Then I reminded myself about the tramp-look-alike outfit I was wearing. I sat myself down. I was the photographer for the night instead of playing the improv game.

I felt so uncomfortable to be in a place so unfamiliar, yet I knew everyone around me. I felt so much like a fish out of water. It came to a point where I was asking myself, “What would my mother say, seeing me dressed this way?”  I have never celebrated Halloween before; I have never been trick or treating. But, there I was partying and eating for extra credit. I can feel and see the looks in my mother’s eyes; how disgusted she would feel just seeing this side of me and for the purpose I was doing it.  Not only was I playing with my faith, but I could feel and see the guiltiness through my own eyes. Not only did I betray my parents, but I betrayed the person I have been for 23 years.

Would I ever go to another Halloween party? Most likely, it would be no. If I ever have any kids in the future, I will leave that decision to them whether they want to celebrate Halloween or not. I did something I never thought I would. It is good to experience new things, and Halloween was definitely a new thing for me, but at the same time, I felt like I betrayed myself.  I was out of my skin for a couple of hours and it felt like a million years. I have nothing against Halloween, but it is just not for me.  And amazingly, Twix does not taste like dog’s poop anymore. I am open to try any other thing, but what I learned during this experience is that I need to be careful before trying any “new thing.” As for religion, I will leave that as it is.

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