What’s do costumes say about us?
Okay so you can google this question and the top answer from Psychology Today and other psychology experts is that on Halloween we get to live out our fantasy, be someone we are not, hide behind a façade and have fun! That’s what it’s all about!
I found this great website that I absolutely love for college age or near college age girls, www.hercollege.com! They had the best breakdown of costume psychology (http://www.hercampus.com/life/what-your-halloween-costume-says-about-you).
1. The Group Cstume: Says that you love your besties, obviously!
2. The Pop Culture Icon: Says that you are up on the latest in entertainment!
3. The Really Intricate, Homemade Costume: You’re artsy and this is your time to show it off!
4. The Couples Costume: You’re glued at the hip to your significant other and this seals the deal!
5. The Punny Costume: This one’s definitely my editor! You’re a “cereal killer”. Halfway through the party you’ll get sick of seeing drunk people acting stupid and go home and read a book. Who wouldn’t want to do that? #booknerd
6. The Disney Princess: I guess got it right with Amanda’s costume, princess costumes are in!
7. The Black Cat: strikes the perfect balance between sexy and super cute!
8. The Legitimately Scary Costume: You live for American Horror Story and read Gothic fiction for fun! It’s your night! Enjoy!
If you haven’t planned your costume it’s not too late. I’m thinking I fall into the #5 Punny Costume group with my good witch t-shirt, yes it says “good witch”, lame right? My kids think so too!
All the best,
Hopefully I’m not the only one who feels burned-out sometimes. You know, the weeks when it gets to Thursday and just the sight of your computer makes you want to hurl it across the room. Or when you husband asks you how your day was and you just roll your eyes at him.
Burnout to greater or lesser degrees happens to many of us. So what do you do? How do you relax, unwind, and unplug without spending five-thousand dollars on a trip to Tahiti? Yes, this is my standard go to when I’m feeling stressed: I’m moving to Tahiti, that’s somewhere in the Pacific right?
Even Suze Orman, personal financial guru, thinks it’s okay to treat ourselves every once in a while. She has some tricks for how to make it count without taking out a loan. (See Suze Orman’s article “The Tricks to Treating Yourself, from O, The Oprah Magazine, Oct. 2015, for the whole article)
1. Her first suggestion is to make sure the splurge is something you really want, something that you will treasure. This is probably not a t-shirt you’re going to where once and then have it sit in your drawer for five more years.
2. Second, she suggests making it special. Spend on an experience, make sure it’s something different, out of your normal routine (I’m guessing this doesn’t mean a fourth can of diet coke), or splurge on time creators. Pay the teenager across the street to rake your leaves and catch a movie with a friend.
3. Third, make sure what you’re spending money on is something you really want.
4. Fourth, if it’s something big, make a budget, don’t put yourself in debt to get a little R&R.
As for me a walk, grabbing a coffee or drink with a friend, or catching up on my favorite TV series can be enough to help me reset my week and save me $500 for a new laptop. Enjoy your fall!
All the best,
Building the characters in Amanda’s life in Is This Me?, I wanted to create a character she gathered strength from other than a primary family unit member. Amanda shared a close relationship with her mother, father, and sisters but sometimes felt left out because of her love of languages and different coloring and stature. Using a grandparent from a another heritage explained her physical features and gave her a person to relate to. I tried to make it clear in Is This Me? that Amanda felt very close with her father’s mother, who she calls Bubbe. Initially the idea came from a friend who had a bubbe (Yiddish for grandmother) she adored. Then, my neighbor told me her mother’s story over an Easter dinner. I was so moved, the story became Bubbe’s story.
The Euvre de Secours aux Enfants, French for Children’s Aid Society, or OSE was a French Jewish humanitarian organization. The OSE was originally the OZE (Obshchetsvo Zdravookhraneniya Yevreyiev (Organization for the health protection of Jews), and was originally formed in Saint Petersburg but spread to other countries. In 1923 the organization relocated to Berlin with Albert Einstein as its symbolic president. In 1933, it relocated again in France and became the Euvre de Secours aux Enfants (Society for Rescuing Children).
During World War II, the OSE sheltered many Jewish children whose parents were killed or sent to concentration camps. My neighbor’s mother was one of these. The children were housed in large mansions and schooled and trained according to their age. After the war, many of the children were relocated to the United States, with family possible. Her mother’s mother and sister were living in the United States and they were reunited.
My neighbor shared with me a book written by Katy Hazan, shown in the image above, that talks about the orphanages and lists names of the children that were housed there including her mother. Much of what we learn about this era is the horrible tragedy of the war and for me this is an example of the good side of humanity.
Leaning about our family histories has been shown to be beneficial in many ways. Sarah Lowe of FamilySearch.org wrote: “Because family teaches us the basic, fundamental beauty of humanity. There are three things getting to know one’s family teaches us about ourselves. First, it helps us deal with our own challenges; we can pull ourselves so thin at times we forget what it is that holds us together. Tracing the life of an ancestor can teach us a lot about the strength of being human. Second, it teaches us sympathy. We all have a tendency to slowly get impatient, to get busier and to lose a bit of sympathy. When our heart goes out to those who came before us, our heart turns towards those we come in contact with each day.” (https://familysearch.org/node/1102)
An article on CNN.com read: “A study conducted at Emory University and published in 2010 involved asking children a range of questions such as whether they knew where their parents met and where they grew up and went to school. The authors found that the more children knew about their family history, the higher their self-esteem and the better able they were to deal with the effects of stress. … That's the beauty of genealogy… "It's eye-opening, and it makes you much more aware how interconnected we all are. It's much harder to be racist and narrow-minded when you see how closely linked all the races are." (http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/03/living/telling-kids-family-history-benefits-feat/)
My grandfather was of Spanish descent and my grandmother was of English descent. My grandmother’s claim to fame is that she was related to the cousin of Sir Francis Drake, Charles Drake. The story in our family was that Sir Francis Drake fought my grandfather’s relatives of the Spanish Armada in 1588. To the Spaniards, he was a pirate, El Draque, with a $6.5M ransom on his head. So was Sir Francis Drake a hero or pirate? It depended on whose side you were on.
All the best,
It’s hard to figure out what to say when someone is in pain. I want to help but often am unsure of what to say or do. I recently read an article in Oprah magazine that was helpful. In her article, Martha Beck suggests we “be like water”. Water is fluid but tends to settle in stillness and reflect. Fluidity, stillness, and reflectiveness she says are the characteristics we should try to embody when consoling a friend.
Being fluid means allowing someone to exist without judging or trying to change their state. This acceptance of their place in the process of grief allows them to begin healing. Ms. Beck says to be genuinely nonjudgmental we need to be still. This may be the hardest for us as we try to help another.
I feel guilty when I am happy and a friend is sad, or healthy, when they are sick. Being overly sympathetic can lead you to feeling as bad as the person you’re trying to help. The best thing you can do for a troubled person is become untroubled yourself, Martha Beck writes. When given a positive environment the griever has space to be reflective and heal.
Being a mirror for a friend is one of the most supportive things you can do. When someone is having a bad day at work you may say: You sound really swamped. This may seem simple and too easy but when the person is quiet enough to hear their true self, it will always tell them you what to do. The fluidity, stillness, and reflectiveness give the troubled person space to listen to their voice.
I have a good friend who calls me often. Many times the conversations starts with: “This situation is driving me crazy…”. A few minutes into her description of the problem she says, “Are you there?”
“Yes,” I say and she continues. At the end of her story, she usually says, “Wow, that really helped.” But I haven’t spoken a word. Wow, that was easy, I think.
I’m not saying this is always going to work or feel great. Example: My teenage daughter storms into the house from the garage after a bike ride with her dad.
Me: “How was your ride?”
Her: “What do you think? My bike broke again.”
I think a few seconds and then come out with: “That sucks.”
She yells at me. “You’re not making it better Mom!” Then she stomps to her room.
Yeah, I have nothing for teens! If you’re reading this, don’t tell my daughter I wrote about her!
All the best,
Amanda, the main character in Is This Me? (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YIABVKG ), has an introverted personality. She prefers socializing with small groups of people while many of her friends enjoy being with a bigger crowd. Being an introvert myself, I am amazed at friends who are always organizing and attending events with large groups of people. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy these events sometimes. I often feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people and energy in a room. So how do can I feel more comfortable with these people? How can I relate to them better?
Whether you’re an introvert trying not to be lost in a sea or conversations or an extrovert trying to pull something out of the person you’re talking to, these tips can help.
1. Express your needs. If you need a minute to formulate an answer, let the person know.
2. Expect interruptions. Interruptions are a signal that you are engaging an extrovert. If you can’t stand being interrupted ask the person to stop. Optionally choose to see their interruptions for what they are, an expression of interest.
3. Be willing to shift gears. When you do feel like being more social, get out there and do it, even if it feels ‘out of character’. Extroverted or introverted, we all have times when we feel more or less so.
1. Pause after you pose a question. Introverts may appreciate time to think before answering a question.
2. Watch for physical cues. If the person is leaning back or looking up it can be an indication that he or she is thinking. Allow them space.
3. Be mindful of jumping in. Allow the person you are speaking with to fully answer questions or finish the topic they are discussing. Use silences to think about what the person has said and ask follow-up questions before you share your own thoughts.
Reading this article I realized I may not be as introverted as I thought especially when I’m among close friends. I do jump in to a conversation when I am excited about a thought or have a connection with the person speaking. However, with new people or casual acquaintances I tend to be more conservative with my conversation style. My observation leads to another main point in the article: don’t assume or expect a certain type of behavior from someone just because you have pegged them as an introvert or extrovert. Most personality traits have ranges and people fall somewhere on the spectrum between truly introverted and one-percent extroverted. In addition, someone may have a totally different style depending on the situation.
Hope these tips help. If you’d like to read more please follow the links below.
Lost in translation extroverts vs. introverts, published with permission from Elizabeth Millard at
Original article can be found at Experience Life magazine at https://experiencelife.com/article/lost-in-translation/