Let’s talk about something fun on this Monday: costumes. Whether it is Halloween in America or carnival in many parts of Europe. Do you remember your children’s costumes?
In Austria we did not have Halloween when I grew up. We dressed up during carnival season at the start of the year. My very first costume was a ballerina dress in white and pink. I do not remember much about it except for what was filmed on tape which is mostly the drama I created about the outfit. I just remember that I found it really itchy. I refused to wear it initially. My mum tried to convince me that I could only go to the carnival party if I wore it. My friends would be disappointed if I did not show up. Let’s cut a long drama short – after a battle “me against itchy dress”, the dress won. And on the tape you see me dancing happily forgetting about the itchy tulle.
Did this predict my future? I am not so sure about it. I quit ballet after my first lesson. But I still love to dance. I still love pink. Maybe it was a hint. My second costume was a butterfly. I also do not really see any predictions confirmed here. Except that my friends called be a “butterfly without wings” on the ski slopes. I may have mentioned that I am not a passionate skier, very atypical of the Austrian species. I really do not enjoy it. But in school we were forced on ski trips. I was known for my stylish and colourful ski outfits which matched my skis or snowboard. But I was also known for not being the most gifted skier rather resembling a colourful, clumsy butterfly without wings when I worked my way down the slopes.
Soon after that, I became a princess for multiple carnivals in a row. I loved the costume and still remember it. It was not the usual pink dress with a silver tiara. It was white and gold with a massive gold tiara made of sequins. It looked special. OK, I think we can move on, I definitely did not – and never wanted to – become a princess.
But the years after are really interesting to look at: a Spanish flamenco dancer, a Hawaiian outfit with a grass skirt, a Chinese cheongsam. Can you see the hints? It definitely predicted my travel addiction and curiosity for different countries and cultures.
I recently had a conversation about cultural appropriation. In 2018, an American teenager made international news because she wore a cheongsam at her prom. She said she wore it because she found it beautiful but was criticised for cultural appropriation. It took me back to all my international outfits and costumes. This was the nineties and we were quite far from the discussions we have today. But what I wanted to say about why I wore these outfits: I wore them because I was so interested in everything which came from abroad, I read books about travel, I really wanted to move abroad. This was long before travel became as accessible as it is today. I wore the outfits because I wanted to share the beauty and my passion to explore new things. (Note: I just wanted to write my intentions down here to avoid misunderstandings. I know how these costumes may be seen with our view today.)
As you may know from my previous Monday Postcards and from the content of this website, I did end up travelling a lot. The flamenco dancer may have predicted a longer stay in Southern Spain one summer to learn the language (and make international friends). Well, the cheongsam is probably the most obvious: China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand – I think we do not need further explanations about my passion for Asia here.
Last but not least two of my last costumes. I was already a teenager but let’s count them as children’s costumes. Firstly, a military uniform. I am glad this costume did not predict anything. It was me and my girlfriend’s “interest” in the guys from the near-by military boarding school rather than knowing which message we would send with a costume of that kind. Definitely not a costume I would find comfortable wearing again.
But I would love to repeat this outfit over and over again: Malibu Barbie. If you see any predictions in this costume, I can assure you this: Yes, I have been to Malibu and I still love pink. 🙂
What about you? Did you dress up as a child and do you see any predictions?