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That (post) Halloween high

Manic in Manila

First off, welcome to my column! This is where I get to be manic about anything and everything. This will be a not-so random read of the musings, mutterings and machinations of a Manila-based mama – yes, that would be me! This puts me one step close to world domination (insert maniacal laugh, here)! Ok, maybe that last statement was a joke. Or was it? Bwahahaha! Coming off Halloween, I must admit that I am a bit of a holiday humbugger. I tend to get bluesy on my birthday, and I find that Christmas colors me nostalgic. But Halloween, now there’s another story, entirely. My enjoyment of the holiday is such that I may as well be crowned the next Pumpkin Queen. Although Halloween, in this Christmas-crazed country, generally lurks in the glittery, holly-decked shadow of the Yuletide Season, its black and orange ghoulish soul takes center-stage in my life. My heart beats Halloween – all year ‘round.

You see, I have always been of the Halloween persuasion. I am among those who have been labeled many things: Goth, dark, tragic poet, the more recent and oh-so-cringe-worthy “emo,” and just downright strange.

Now, I do know that the festivity is over and done with, this year… or is it, REALLY? You see, there are those of us for whom Halloween is more than just a holiday: it is a state of mind.

Vincent and strange lullabies

It all started many moons ago. Why, I can trace it back to the day I was born. Tropical storm signal No. 3 lambasted the metro, as I popped out into this world. The name of the storm has since been forgotten, but I was told it was a real howler. Just like me. Fitting, I suppose.

I grew up fascinated with what most my friends thought gross or scary: bugs, spiders, lizards, bats; you know the kind.

Late nights would see me quietly sneaking out of bed to catch Vincent Price’s show. His deep baritone voice would send delicious shivers up and down my spine, as I would listen to tales of vampires and things that went bump in the night. Then – happy, but too scared to sleep in my own room – I would quietly creep into my parent’s room, and sleep beside my dad.

The Worm Song and the Fly Song were always my favorite lullabies. Truth be told, I had many faves: Mr. Sandman; Hush, Little Baby and Somewhere Over the Rainbow were up on the list too. But none of these fascinated me more than the thought of going to the garden to eat some worms, and old ladies swallowing flies. I surmised that there were others like me, else these children’s songs would not have been written.

Others like me

Eventually, as grew through the teen years and matured into young adulthood, I realized that there were, in fact, others like me.

Those who shared my penchant for a predominantly black palette of clothing. Slimming, elegant, and no-fuss with multiple loads of different colors to wash.

Ironically, most of those same people shared my penchant for cats as well. So we all enjoyed yet another commonality – we were official card-carrying lint brush freaks.

I found a slew of others who loved Lewis Carrol, Edgar Allan Poe, and thought Tim Burton a demi-god of sorts. Our sensibilities were honed by the likes of these, imprinting their twisted and dark art into our souls; for future use.

Skulls, skeletons, crosses: among our well-loved icons, appearing on most everything we own.

Up and down such avenues of self-expression, we traverse; more than a tad left-off-society’s Bell-Curve-dictated center.

Life balance

We are those who keep life in balance. The Yin to your Yang – complementary
forces; without which, the other would simply cease to be.

Has this dark psyche turned me into a morose, brooding deadweight to society? Morose and brooding, sometimes; deadweight, hardly.

On the contrary, it has enabled me to live at a more heightened level. My interest in the “morbid and macabre” – as you may perceive these to be – propels me ever onward toward life; reminding me to seize each day, because we won’t be around forever.

Perhaps this is what I like most about Halloween, and its partner-in-crime, All Soul’s Day—we remember the dead, so that we remember to live; to make every moment of life truly count for something. Ponder on this, for a moment.

For to me, nothing is more dark and tragic than a life gone to waste.

Which brings me back to where I started with this piece, and reminds me each time to maybe get rid of the holiday humbuggery. Just maybe.

 

By ANGIE DUARTE

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