Costumes and Crusty Eyelashes
I have always loved costumes. My costumes always have to meet certain standards: they have to be attractive, they can’t be slutty, they have to be relatively cheap, they can’t be bought in a package, and they have to be hilarious.
Unfortunately, my two best costumes of all time have no photographic evidence.
When my best friend was out of town for a week in the middle of Cape Town summer, I told her I was getting so dark she wouldn’t even recognize me because I looked Native American. What she lacks in melanin she makes up for with her “blonde bombshell” factor, yet she still was salty about the thought of me switching races in her week away. She thought I was kidding about my ridiculously dark skin, until I picked her up at the airport…wearing a Pocahontas costume into the airport. It was December 31st.
My other best costume experience was for a school spirit day in high school when we got to dress up as a character, and I went as Captain Hook. Now, this was just too easy for me. I pulled together an oversized tattered shirt, ripped the collar and belted it with red leggings and a skull bandana. For a hook I simply covered my left arm in tin foil (for those of you who don’t know me, my arm is significantly curved inwards). An ex-boyfriend always used to roll his eyes when I’d mention this costume, saying it’s self-deprecating humor, but actually, it takes an incredibly confident person to pull this off. It’s like a section of humor that God reserved just for me :)
On other occasions, I’ve dressed up as a Hillsong Worship Leader, a 1920s flapper, a bird (and went all over town dressed in a ridiculous tutu), went all out for a red-white and blue bash and a barn dance themed party in SA, a ninja and our pastor’s wife. When I say I dressed up as these, I need you to understand that I committed 110%...I left nothing behind. For my Worship Leader costume I got fake ombre extensions. When I dressed up as my pastor’s wife, I went out and bought a fake baby to hold on my hip all night and referred to it as “Miracle” (their daughter) all night. Go big or go home, and I never go home.
Costumes are fun. I get to be someone else for a night. I get to think of an awesome persona to make people laugh. And most importantly, I can usually work in fake eyelashes into any costume.
When I have to take a costume that I’ve worked so hard to perfect off, I get really anxious and sad. Fake eyelashes are like super-powers. They increase your confidence 10 fold. Let’s be honest, post-fake-eyelashes is the most vulnerable state a woman can be put in. It doesn’t matter how naturally pretty she is naturally, she feels naked looking at herself without them upon removal. It’s scary.
Unfortunately, I’ve become increasingly aware of how many people dress up every day. It’s not an occasional party occurrence for them. It’s a day in, day out, #thestruggleisreal part of life. It’s a constant battle to take off the costumes that we feel necessary for acceptance in today’s culture.
We think we need to put the “i-am-totally-trusting-God-even-though-my-life-is-falling-apart” costume on, when we actually get home and lay our heads on our pillows and stare through the darkness in the direction of our ceilings and wonder where He really is, or if we’ve just somehow convinced ourselves this religion thing is real.
We think we need to put the “i-just-want-to-have-a-successful-future-and-live-a-normal-american-life” costume on, when deep down inside all of us God has placed a desire and great ability to change the world and the thought that that might actually be true terrifies us so much that we convince ourselves it's not, and that people who believe that are crazy.
We think we need to put on the “successful-college-grad-I-have-my-life-figured-out” costume, when the reality is you’re actually in your early 20s and have no idea what is going to happen and you’re more terrified about the future than you were as a 3 year old being forced to sit on the Easter Bunny’s lap for pictures (why did our parents do that, anyways?).
As a professional costume maker and wearer, let me let you in on a secret: they are not a part of the way God intended you to be. Yes, they’re fun. Yes, they temporarily boost your confidence. No, they shouldn’t be worn forever. Proof? When I finally took off my bird costume, I ended up ripping an entire strip of eyelashes out with the fake ones, because they weren’t applied correctly. I was in a hurry, trying to both nail my costume and get there on time (which is a rare occurrence) that I just stuck it on quickly so that it looked good to outsiders.
We got lots of compliments on our bird costumes, we got sweet pictures, but I also had a lot of pain and it took ages for all of my eyelashes to grow back (you’ll see a lot of sunglassed pictures during this timeframe).
As scary and painful as it was to pull off that strip of lashes, I realized that if I didn’t eventually take it off, it would get crusty and disgusting. Miff. It had to come off.
Unfortunately, our mental costumes we wear don’t have the physical appearance of “crustiness”, but nonetheless they still need to come off. Our mental costumes don’t make our eyelashes crusty, they make our insides – our hearts, our souls, our emotions, our capacity to love and be loved—crusty.
I don’t want crusty insides. Quite frankly, I can’t afford it. I have been commissioned by the Creator of the universe to save kids and change the world. I’m doing it. You have tasks to do to change the world, too. You can’t afford crustiness either. Plus, it’s incredible how once we take off the costumes and let our eyelashes grow back in, we realize how awesome we were all along.