Photo by Andrew Tran, Contributor

Behind the Mask

Empowering those who embrace who they want to be, when they want to.


Photo by Andrew Tran, Contributor

By Asher Reeves, Distribution Manager

Halloween used to be my least favorite holiday. The fake blood and guts, scary masks and young kids getting sick with sticky substances all over their faces never really appealed to me. But everyone else seemed to like it, so I pretended to. There is nothing wrong with the holiday, it’s just that like many things in life, you have to find a way to make it your own, so I did. I found a way to make Halloween less about everyone and more about me.

I realized that Halloween is one of the few times a year anyone can dress up and be whatever they want, but most people choose not to. Some might consider it as a bold notion. I think of it as necessary. I have seen many people brave enough to wear costumes for Instagram and Facebook photos, but nobody is willing to wear it for a full day. They don’t even wear the full costume when they go out, just an abridged version. For example, instead of wearing a full on Batman outfit, I only see shirts with the Batman logo and a cape. Or for a nurse outfit, I see scrubs but not the full uniform. So when Halloween falls on a weekday and I have class, you bet your sweet ass I’m going to fully dress up and make sure the world knows I can mix work and play. So can you!

I dress up to show my classmates how fun I can be but I still don’t want to be entirely judged for being the only one doing so. It’s tough being one of the only people in costume on a holiday about dressing up. But for someone like me, a nerd and cosplayer, it’s an exceptional time for me to show off who I really am.

Illustration by Tara Thomas, Art Director

Wearing a mask is like a one-way mirror. You may not know who I am, but I can tell who you are. I become someone I try to be on the daily but can’t because I am confined by those norms of society, those norms that separate us “nerds,” if you will, into taboo categories. As someone who has a large voice and a platform of my own, I will show that we can build a bridge for us all.

The costume’s mask not only breaks social walls but also creates new ones. For example, it tells people that if you have an outlandish idea, you can do it. It shows people that far-fetched ideas are only a step away. The path less traveled has a beautiful view too — you should come and see it some time. When I wore my costume on campus for the past two Halloweens, I felt amazing and felt like I could take on the world. Nobody knew who I was, which made the anonymity of the holiday that much more daring.

The path less traveled has a beautiful view too — you should come and see it some time.

I fully take on the role of the character I am dressing up as. In this case, Spider-Man. Oh, by the way I’m Spider-Man. Yes, I’m THAT Spider-Man with the expensive-looking slim suit (that hugs my thighs) you might’ve seen the past two years.

Some of you may have seen me on campus and some of you may have even had classes with me. You saw a random guy in tights walk into your class and realized that he is an everyday student like you. I get positive reactions from random students on campus and you may have been one of them! My teachers are always shocked while my classmates laugh and applaud with glee.

You may think dressing up as a comic book character to school for an entire day is tiring, sweaty, tedious and even a little weird. And it is. But when was the last time you did something brave?

And no, I’m not talking about guessing ‘C’ on every test question you don’t know, I’m talking about being bold, daring and doing something out of the norm. Because for me, I try to do something different and fun at least once a month.

So challenge yourself this month. Set a goal to go against the grain. Do something you wouldn’t normally do and also make it fun. Be proud of who you are and just like Spider-Man taught me, Be Greater.