October is one of my favorite months of the year. The nights are finally a bit cooler here in Los Angeles. We don’t have many seasons here, but it kinda feels like Fall. Halloween is a huge holiday for me. Lots of old scary movies, and a few new ones are shown just about everywhere. There are tons of yummy candies and sweets for trick or treaters. It’s also a great time to dress up as whatever or whoever I want to be.
This year I’m struggling with my Halloween costume. I already have some great ones: Tiana from Princess and the Frog, Michonne from the Walking Dead, Flight attendant from Snakes on a plane, and as always, a Pirate (I’d dress like a pirate every day if I could). But what about this time? Maybe I could be a superhero. They have great strength. I did many google searches for costume ideas, but nothing inspired me. I temporarily abandoned my quest and decided to research Voodoo vs Hoodoo for my second novel Enlightening of the Damned.
I came across You Tube videos of an interesting Conjure Doctor/Root Worker named Papa Lou. Check him out on YouTube, and his website is www.brokenones.org His old school southern charm and devilish grin will lure you in. His passion for what he believes and his sincerity to help others will hold your attention and inspire you. One of his many videos really resonated with me. He spoke about ancestors and the strength they had to endure slavery. Consider this: when the slavery ships came to the United States, some of the captive people chose to drown themselves rather than live in their new world. Other enslaved people pushed on and did their best to live under treacherous circumstances. If these people didn’t have strength to survive, I wouldn’t be here today. I’m quite sure that people who have relatives that survived the holocaust and other unspeakable, horrible circumstances could say the same thing. Those people before us, our ancestors, had a special silent strength that I am grateful for. Listening to Papa Lou with his Georgia accent gave me more to be thankful for in my life.
It also gave me more appreciation for the Mexican tradition of remembering deceased relatives during Dia de los Muertos which occurs October 31 through November 2 this year. During this holiday, families gather and offer the deceased their favorite food, drink and music they enjoyed when they were alive. Families create altars and decorate graves for their loved ones. Supposedly the dead return to be with their loved ones. The movie Coco does an amazing job bringing this tradition to the big screen for all of us to experience.
When considering what strength means to me, other people came across my mind. It’s sort of a silent strength. To me, my dad is a hero. He’s my mother’s caretaker. Day in and day out he watches over, feeds and protects the love of his life without ever complaining. That in itself takes physical and mental strength, 24 hours a day. Anyone who is battling cancer, depression or any life threatening situation and is still here to talk about it has strength and is a hero in my mind. This also applies to anyone who is a caregiver for someone else.
So, what am I going to be for Halloween this year? Sorry kids, I still don’t know 100 percent. I do know it won’t be Wonder Woman (who I still love, just saying). I also know, however, that I appreciate the people in my universe with silent strength, and I should pay more attention to Dia de los Muertos.