I write a weekly PR blog in my daily life called the Friday Sizzle. This week, I tackled the topic of Halloween—hopefully in a fun manner. My whole theme was “shaking off the old skeletons” and turning into a new person by donning a costume that helps you become who you want to be; the impetus of this change being the Halloween holiday; i.e., if you are a female starting a business, go be Lady Gaga and go be fearless for an evening. I mean, who wouldn’t want to drop their inhibitions for a night, turn into some being that is foreign from our “day personalities,” and escape from the so-called boredom of our daily “us?”
Okay, great, way to go Demi for posting a decent blog. The thing is, after I thought about it for a few days—I wanted to explore the topic a little further. So yes, we like to have fun once a year and drop the day-to-day “us.” What makes us pick the costumes we do? Is it really because we feel we look like the character we chose, or have traits that we admire in that person or object? What makes us want that change (and come on, it can’t just be a reason to drink every year). Maybe deep down, it’s that we’re ready to hide.
This leads me to the exploration—at what point in our lives do we just accept the present, and we are happy to just “be?” For me, learning to live in my own skin was a lifelong journey. At 33, I’d be pretty proud to go out on October 31st as Demi Knight Clark, Girl Friday—and defend it. Why? Well, ten years ago, I wanted to be anyone else but me. I planned a beautiful wedding that I thought Gwyneth Paltrow would throw. Great party, quite lavish, but was it necessary to show my true love? Doubtful.
I jumped from a course of jobs, gaining a new higher title and a thicker business card every leap—all in the name of becoming another Carly Fiorina or Oprah Winfrey; strong businesswoman who is tough as nails in the boardroom yet likeable to the American female. After womb pressure and biological clocks ticked loudly, I created (with the help of a super cool husband) two of the most amazing creatures ever brought on this earth—yep, I’m unabashedly partial, of course. That, I guiltily admit, was in the quest to be like Julia Roberts, mom to twins and superwoman actress who had it all.
So again, that’s 10 years of living someone else’s life, trying to obtain someone else’s dreams, and believing that the mask I wore was worth the commercial gain and supposed “progress” that I was making. I’m going to stress here that I had so many positives during that time frame, such as the husband, enough money to provide well for our family, and producing two adorable girls. However, I wasn’t “me.” It was the mask.
It wasn’t until I became a yoga instructor and started my own company that I started to shed the costume—peeling back that proverbial onion, discovering layers of myself that I never knew existed. Wow, what a process—I saw ugly things, pretty things, hidden secrets and a lot of baggage. I think we push the baggage to the corners of our internal closets for a reason—it’s just too tough to handle all at once. Once we can take it one task at a time though, it’s definitely manageable (and changeable).
The process of change, along with discovering and appreciating all of my layers, also helped me become a “better” lot of things. Better mom. Better daughter, sister and cousin. Better wife. Better friend. Better business owner. Better colleague to people who needed help. Better inspiration. Better mentor. And above all, just a downright better human being.
So for me, while I am dressing up on Halloween this year (the night before, for a costume party), I know that underneath the makeup and the funky clothes that I’m completely one person. Me. Whole. The sum of all of my creaky, craggy, beautiful parts—hidden or otherwise. That makes me smile, because after all the onion peeling, it has been well worth the wait. I’m so amazingly content (and relieved) to just be.