Halloween is great for donning an alternative you. You may want to express your individuality with an ornate costume, or join a group all dressed up as a team, but by changing your outward appearance, you’re given permission to act differently on the inside and see how it feels to think and speak as someone else. For example, a shy person wearing a monster costume can make a big, splashy entrance to a party that they would normally never consider, or a blustery personality pretending to be a mime can learn the subtleties of body language while ‘trapped’ in a soundless role.
It can be incredibly empowering to step out of character, open up to an altar ego and take your partner on a journey with someone new; almost like cheating! Consenting to play a role becomes an erotic act that allows you and your partner to explore what excites you, without fear of rejection, ridicule or recrimination. Even the simple act of wearing a mask can transform your perception of yourself and allow a naughtiness to emerge that might be inhibited otherwise.
At one time or another, we all want to break out of character and pretend we’re someone else for a while. Whether it’s sensual role-playing with costumes and props, or a camping adventure that you wouldn’t ordinarily partake in, there’s tremendous value in getting outside of your comfort zone and trying on new ideas, choices or even lifestyles.
With Breast Cancer Awareness Month beginning this week, I’ve also been wondering about the idea of accessing another mindset in order to heal. For example, the pain and suffering of chemo or radiation treatments for breast cancer can feel too much to bear, so how can ‘getting out of character’ help the healing process?
Common complaints after surgery include fatigue, lack of libido, and fear of the changes one’s body has endured. Healing patients might find themselves asking, Will intimacy be different now? When will I feel sexy again? Can my body handle the energy output of sexual activity?
One important way to answer these questions is to start slowly by giving yourself the mental and physical space in which to explore the answers. You might be a person who rarely stops to ‘smell the roses’ and you feel frustrated by your lack of energy. But perhaps it’s time to play the role of your own lover, give yourself the gift of a nice long bubble bath and indulge your body in self-touching. It might feel out of character, but it might also bring you back to a place where sex seems do-able again.
So whether you’re looking for a wild fantasy, or just a way to find your old self again, consider ‘getting out of character’ this October to jump-start your imagination.