Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I don't do costumes. I don't dress up. It's hard enough to find regular clothes that fit, forget trying to wedge this body into a superman costume. The only costume that comes easily to mind for chubbies and chubbettes is a toga, but fat guys in toga look like fat guys in a sheet. We look more like Billy Bob, a hoodless member of the KKK, than we look like anyone on their way to the forum. So, I don't do costumes. I buy a box of 200 mini chocolate bars for the 4 kids that come by the house. What to do with the rest of the candy, oh, what to do?

But the real reason I don't wear costumes is that I think, these days, that masks are redundant. I wear masks every day, for heaven's sake. I've got my 'I'm listening ... I'm truly truly listening' mask, that one is really popular. Then there's my 'I'm sensitive to your needs ... let me feel your pain with you' mask that I use for special occasions. Then there's my 'No, no, I'm ok, you didn't hurt my feelings' mask that I use way to often. One of the most common masks I wear is the 'I'm a grown up' mask - it covers the childlike fear that is often seen only at the back of my eyes.

So I don't wear costumes. Or masks. These days I'd like us to have a national holiday that's the 'Hallow-you' day. The day where we all take our masks off and are authenically ourselves for a whole day.

One guy I used to work with all the time constantly asked the staff, "ARE YOU HAPPY ARE YOU HAPPY ARE YOU HAPPY ARE YOU HAPPY ARE YOU HAPPY" consistently through the day. I advised, wearing my 'I'm advising you because I know stuff' mask, that people with intellectual disabilities have difficulty reading emotional states in others. I suggested that he was asking all the time because he didn't have the skill of 'face reading' so was asking instead.

So, I sat down to do a session on feelings recognition with him, I'd put my 'I'm a patient teacher' mask on so I was ready. Using the four feeling faces from the Ludwig curriculum I discovered that he could read each of the faces - no problemo - no error. I 'put on' each one of the feeling faces by making my face resemble the pictures to see if he could read the faces on flesh not paper. 100 percent accurate. I was confused, he clearly didn't need the class and he clearly didn't lack the skill.

"Why are you always asking people if they're happy, when you can tell what their faces are saying."

His answer was swift.

"Staff faces lie."

"What?" I asked.

"Staff faces lie, you never know what they are thinking behind their faces."

Hmmmm. Who's disabled in this picture.

So, today my costume is going to be ....... WAIT FOR IT .....


Don't run screaming from the room. The real me is ... well, you'll see ...



lina said...

masks eh, how about entire costumes! I would like a day without masks, but then perhaps the next day should be without memory - for all our benefit!

Belinda said...

"Boo" back at you!

I love the idea of "Hallow You" day, when all masks are dropped, but I wonder if chaos would ensue, with people firing their bosses etc.(not me -I love my boss! :))

Wouldn't the universe shift that day? All of the elabourate constructs gone, how many things would change in 24 hours!

Those of us with an imagination are having fun thinking about this.