October. A chance to put on a costume and become someone or something else. I’m not a Halloween enthusiast when it comes down to ME dressing up. Don’t get me wrong when I say I care not to be a sexy fairy or nurse, nor the store bought hot dog or crayon. No judgement here. Go for it, if so inclined! But for me, unless I can do something unique, highly authentic or completely ridiculous, I’d prefer to be just me.
Last October, I attended a West Coast Swing dance event that featured an evening Halloween costume parade. I participated by wearing one of two ridiculous costumes I had put together that year. It was at this event that I began to wonder what on earth would be a worthy costume for next year. “Ah ha!,” I thought. “I will be a Which, What, Who! I’ve never seen that costume before.”
I was feeling enthusiastic about the idea and began to share my thoughts with friends… “A Which, What, Who, you know, from the Dr. Suess books,” I’d explain. To my utter surprise, not one of my friends knew what I was talking about. I assumed it was our age gap. Perhaps I should ask an “older” person to see if they knew what I was talking about. Nope. In astonishment, I pressed further, “Didn’t your parents read I Wish That I Had Duck Feet to you as a child?” or “Haven’t you read this book to your own kids?” I honestly believed that, of course, people knew this character. WRONG.
So, there’s the dilema. Do I take the effort to create a costume few will even recognize? Is it worth spending time and money on something no one but myself will appreciate? I purchased fabric and some props last Halloween season, and have since let the issue rest… Until now.
Practically speaking, I was pondering about what to blog this month. I consider myself an introvert, so blogging isn’t necessarily my natural state; yet, I embrace the idea of a monthly post. So… October… “What’s up for me in October that I’d like to share with others?,” I questioned. Which brings me back to being a “Which, What, Who.”
The boy in the story wishes he could be something new. “I wish that I had duck feet, and I can tell you why. You can splash around in duck feet. You don’t have to keep them dry.” He goes on to imagine all the fun things he and his duck feet could do, but then realizes the problem that goes along with having duck feet. “But my mother would not like them. She would say, ‘Get off my floor!’ She would say, ‘You take your duck feet and you take them out that door!’” The boy then dreams of having two deer horns to carry around his belongings, a whale spout upon his head, a long tail to pull girls behind his bike, or an elephant trunk to put out fires. Each idea initially sounds appealing, but after some contemplation, he recognizes the fault in each one. Big Bill Brown might tie him to the tree by his tail. His dad will make him wash the car with his elephant nose. He wouldn’t fit through the school bus door with his antlers. He begins to see these wishes as “bad.”
As I was thinking about this boy in the story, I recognized that I have been on a similar journey ever since my divorce. Though I began a career in television production and photography in Los Angeles, upon having children, I made the decision to stay home to raise them. We had the means to do it as my husband was successful in his career as a television writer; yet, I remember feeling vulnerable about this choice. I’d be relying on someone else to financially support me. Of course, no one believes at the start that their marriage will fall apart; yet, “x” many years later, here I was with no viable career under my belt to which to go back. It had been quite some time of being home with the children. How am I going to support myself after all these years being out of the work force? What knowledge and skills do I hold? What are my passions and interests?
So now, like the boy, I’ve imagined different paths I could take. Shall I get my masters in psychology and become an art therapist? What about Chiropractic school? I could learn a trade like sonography and do ultrasounds. Shall I get my masters in Art Education or Special Education? Perhaps I should stray from my interests in health, teaching and art and become an accountant. Yet, with each “elephant nose,” “duck feet,” “long tail,” I try on in my mind, there seems to be something “bad” about it. Nothing seems quite right with costs of higher education and years of study to pursue a field about which I don’t necessarily feel passionate. I begin to feel confused about the choices and paths occupying my mind.
Within the children’s story, when the boy determines that each new idea doesn’t quite fit, he decides the best idea is to be them all. He imagines himself as a boy with orange duck feet, a tiger tail, an elephant nose, deer antlers and a whale spout shooting water from the top of his head. He has it ALL! With joy he declares himself a “Which What Who!” Yet, for me, as I contemplate career choices, in my confusion, I begin to feel like a Which What Who.
In the Dr. Suess story, as the boy imagines parading around town as a Which What Who, he begins to think that the town people would not recognize him. They might become scared. They’d put him into the zoo with a sign above his head reading, “WHICH, WHAT, WHO.” By being it all, he has found himself to be misunderstood, alone and trapped. He sits sadly behind the bars of the zoo cage.
The boy then ponders, “I think it would be very sad when people come to call. SO… I don’t think that a Which, What, Who would be much fun at all. AND SO, I think there are some things I do not wish to be. And that is why I think that I just wish to be like ME!”
So, it is with this awareness that I choose to honor a life chapter of metaphorically trying on duck feet and antlers in search of my new career path. I am going to be a Which, What, Who for Halloween! Yet, because I am healer and teacher in energy awareness, I can’t help but see the Which, What, Who in a new perspective. In addition to the aforementioned life metaphor, I will also be re-envisioning the significance behind each quality of “Which What Whoianism.” Hope you enjoy my “New Age, Dr. Suessianesque” poem. This may be a first in that category.
WHICH, WHAT, WHO (Re-envisioned)
I’ll imagine I have duck feet,
Planted firmly on the ground.
With grace and power, I tap a beat,
As I navigate around.
Up through my feet, Earth energy flows,
Connecting with Mother Earth.
My gratitude forever grows.
I feel a new found birth.
I’ll call on Cosmic energy.
Flowing in, down through my crown.
It circulates within my body,
Clearing space as it moves around.
I’ll mix the Earth and Cosmic
As they swirl and churn about.
They become an energy fountain,
Resembling a great whale spout.
To be more centered and grounded,
I’ll imagine I have a tail.
Dropping deep within the earth, surrounded.
No worries or fears prevail.
I’ll release to Mother Earth
All that is not my own Essence,
And with clarity I will become
Stronger in my Presence.
And then I’ll picture antlers
Resting up upon my head.
I’ll attach to them, some roses-
Orange, green, blue or red.
Roses to make separations,
Defining all my space.
Safely, I move in flow and ease,
With certainty and grace.
Of course, one needs and elephant nose.
I’ll wear mine with pride.
Honoring Ganesh, as it goes,
Companions, side by side.
My friend removes the obstacles
On my path which do impede.
In reverence, I’ll offer gratitude
And many thanks, indeed.
And so I have a tool kit
To help me on my way.
Every day I can make use of it
At work, in dance or play.
My tool kit may seem funny,
But it is quite useful, you see.
It allows me to be sunny,
To be exactly ME.** And now like the surprise scene that follows end credits of a super hero movie, I share with you my experience of being a Which What Who at this year’s West Coast Swing dance event. Knowing already that NO ONE knows this character, I have to admit, I felt a bit silly showing up in my costume. But to my surprise, a group had created a Dr. Suess theme. I became enthusiastic that perhaps through researching their costume ideas, maybe, just MAYBE, someone in that group would recognize my character. NOPE! The Dr. Suess group was awarded “Best Group Costume.” They paraded up front to receive their title. A happy family of Dr. Suess friends. And there I was, in the back, the lonely, excluded and unrecognized WHICH, WHAT, WHO! Sigh… Poor me. Perhaps, next Halloween, I will be Eeyore!