November 01, 2015

This is Halloween

This is the first year I can remember that I didn't decorate my apartment for Halloween—that I didn't string up some orange lights or swap out my red towels for black ones or prop some glittery cutouts on shelves and picture frames and mirrors.

Frankly, it didn't even occur to me to do it. Normally, I'd have to hold myself back until October 1.

This year I didn't buy a new costume—not even a pair of bunny ears or devil horns or butterfly wings or anything. It wasn't about money. Even in times of desperation, I have always found the money for a Halloween costume.

I almost didn't go out on Halloween night last night. I almost didn't dress up last night. I didn't even bother with the West Hollywood Carnaval—which has entertained me endlessly for the past few years—and, once I was out, I wished I'd stayed home.

Dressed as Cleopatra—in a costume I repurposed from 2012, the only one I already had that actually fit—I managed to bob and weave through traffic to get all the way out to Boyle Heights for a Halloween speakeasy at a former factory. I don't think anything else could've drawn me out last night. There, I sipped a drink that I stood way too long in line for. I snapped some selfies at the photo booth. I giggled when the power went out. And after an hour and a half, I slipped away, unnoticed.

I still haven't figured out nightlife in LA. Sure, I've looked into its dark corners and behind its unmarked doors and found great food and drink, served by capable chefs and bartenders; but every party I go to seems to be too crowded or too sparse. Maybe I get there too early. Maybe I get there too late. But either way, the result seems to be the same: I've got no one to talk to.

I've gotten used to being a wallflower, and I'm mostly OK with it now. But there are certain days—and especially certain nights—when everyone else seems to have a companion. And this is the season for it. It won't let up until late February.

I think maybe this year, I just didn't want to try so hard. I've tried so very hard my entire life, and it's exhausting. I wonder what would happen if I just did nothing—if I stopped trying to pretend I'm beautiful, if I stopped making nights like Halloween so damn important. I'd really like to lower the stakes, and take the urgency out of everything, even just for a little while.

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Letting Myself Go
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