Karla's Korner: Costumes

I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!


This past week was full of celebrations and make believe. Of course, we celebrated my birthday which was wonderful. My sweet daughter surprised me with a visit and flowers, my husband made me a wonderful dinner and he and my son gave me some sweet gifts. My preschoolers showered me with cards, cupcakes and hugs. Later in the week, we had our annual harvest party and costume parade at my preschool. There were lots of fire fighters, police officers, dragons and fairy princesses. Then there was me dressed as The Cat in the Hat. Yes, for the first time in many years, I decided to dress in costume. With my big red bow tie, white gloves, striped hat and matching socks I proudly walked the parade “route” with my students. It is widely known in my circle that I do not wear hats because hats mess up my hair and hair is a big deal to me. So when I pulled that tall red striped hat down over my freshly coifed “do” my heart began to pound a little faster and I found myself very anxious. However, when my boss, who by the way was wearing a big rainbow colored clown wig and bright red nose, opened the door, I knew I had to embrace the moment and go for it. Besides, if she could do it, I could do it.

After the celebration was over and the costume was put away I began to think about how in real life we try to wear masks to cover up our real selves. How often is it that we pretend to be someone we are not in order to fit in or stand out? As humans we have the need to be accepted by those in the world around us and at times we feel that it is necessary to pretend to be something or someone we are not.

In the past several years I have worked very hard to come into my own; to find my own identity and take off the mask I have been wearing for so long and embrace who I really am. Finding the way to my real self has been painful at times but like anything worth working for, the end result is just me. Being someone who for so many years struggled with self acceptance I feel that for the first time in my life I do not have to put on a costume, a mask or pretend to be anything but me. And knowing that not everyone will like or accept the real me is absolutely okay.

My preschoolers love to pretend. Every day during their free time they pull out the dishes and the babies and pretend. One will be the mommy, one will be the daddy and just the other day one of them shouted “Hey, I’m the grandma!” Watching them play in their make believe world is so much fun. Hearing them order food at their pretend restaurant to their pretend waiter or waitress makes me giggle. Make believe is a big part of learning for children. But what happens when we grow up and the make believe does not go away? We miss out on something wonderful. We miss out on ourselves and all the great things we have to offer to the world around us.

Who are you really? Are you someone who lives far beyond their means just to make an impression? Do you pretend to be something that you are not just to be accepted or noticed? Take a look in the mirror and see if the person looking back at you is the real you. For a long time I did not see my real self in the mirror, but someone I thought I had to be. Struggling with my weight, food addiction and low self worth was the driving force behind most everything I did. Looking back, while painful, I realize that hiding behind the make-up, clothes, perfectly styled hair, and sparkling clean house, was this really neat person struggling to get out. Coming to understand that it okay to be just me has made me a happier person. Remember the old saying “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, well nowadays this momma is very happy. She has taken off the costume and exposed her real identity to the world and in doing so has sprinkled a little more happiness in the lives of those around her. And what I realize is that once I removed the mask and the costume, the extra weight began to come off and not only do I look better, I feel better too.

Examine your life. Find the real you. Embrace the real you and put all of your costumes away. Show this world exactly who you and what you are made of; not what you think the world wants you to be. Life comes around once so make sure you live it to the fullest without make believe.

For me, as I sit here in my old jeans, baggy gray t-shirt, no make-up, graying hair and my Carl Edwards socks, I catch my reflection in the computer screen and find that the woman looking back at me is smiling.


Karla Robey