Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Shouldn't this be more fun?

This is not us.  
This past weekend my boyfriend Galen and I went to a Halloween party out in Oakville.  We went as teenage mutant ninja turtles (I was Donatello, he was Michelangelo). Our costumes were very much homemade, requiring a little suspension of disbelief from other partygoers.  We took our inspiration from this photo, but we are not the type to spend $60 on two ninja turtles t-shirts and two pairs of plastic glasses that we'll wear for only a few hours. The less money we spend on dressing up for Halloween, the happier we are.

Galen loves building things and making things and he's good at it, so he was excited to make his costume. Not just assemble it from pieces in his wardrobe, but actually MAKE it, with scissors and pieces of fabric and safety pins. He enjoys the process of making things, and doesn't really stress too much about the results.  If we vaguely resemble something that can be understood as a mutant ninja turtle at the end of this, he's done his job and he's content. If not, meh.

This is not how I went into the process (or really go into anything).  Making a costume is not my inclination-- not because I want to spend money on costumes I'll never wear again, but because I'm terrible at making things. I can't draw or paint. I can replace a button here or there but it's a bit of an ordeal and other than that I can't really sew (or knit, or crochet, for that matter). As a kid playing with Legos, all I could ever put together were buildings: square towers built out of square blocks.

I desperately fantasize about being more tactile and creative, and every so often I work up just enough courage to try again, even after the last time, when I sucked at it and gave up.  So I went along with making our costumes.  How hard could it be?  The hipster ninja turtle looked like a relatively achievable goal.

We bought our supplies from Value Village on our way to the Go train: two dark green shirts, one taupe coloured shirt that would be the turtle's underbelly, and two kid's tees, one purple, one orange, for our wristbands and headbands.  And some safety pins.  On the train, we whipped out the scissor I'd packed and got to work.  Galen cut the turtle bellies and we began pinning them to our shirts.

It went wrong almost immediately.  At least for me.  The turtle bellies weren't perfectly oval-shaped, but I sucked this up and devised what I considered a clever strategy for pinning the fabric to my shirt that would not tickle me with pins, nor display the pins sloppily for all to see.  I put about a dozen pins in and proudly put on my shirt--only to discover that my "belly" was aligned to the left, not the centre.  Good for a photo maybe, or text, not so much a belly.  I unpinned the whole damn thing and started over.  It was too high.  I started over again.  By the time I'd finished it was still not perfect and I was using the bare minimum number of pins, too aggravated to be bothered.  When I looked over my shoulder I noticed the woman sitting behind us on the train was gazing at me with amused pity, sort of like the face you might make when you see a baby butt-crawl.

Galen's belly was also pinned on a bit crooked, but he didn't care and swatted me away when I tried to obsess about and re-pin it.  In the time it took me just to pin my belly on to my barest level of satisfaction, Galen had finished his costume and was already helping me with rest of mine (he stepped in just in time to keep me from totally effing up my eye/headband--yes, I'm also unskilled with a scissor).  Whether we looked recognizable to anyone at the party, who knows?

Part of me would prefer the pretty t-shirt that is neat and familiar and easy, but the part of me that won this weekend (the part of me that wins every time I venture out of my shell (pun intended) again to try my hand at making something) prefers the adventure of trying something new, even if it's messy and all I end up making are memories.

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