I have a new hat. I love my new hat. It is warm and cozy. It is spun in winding, spiraling circles of beautiful shades of purples and blues and a flash of turquoise at the tip. It’s a fun hat, and when I wear it I can’t help but smile and feel cheerier as I move through the normal day’s activities, be it rushing to get the kids to school or stopping for a coffee or just driving around in my car. In my hat, I feel like an elven fairy, outwardly navigating the streets of suburbia but secretly wandering the woods of Lothlorian.
My hat makes other people smile too. Maybe they just like my hat. It is always easier to talk to new people when you have a fun accessory (people with dogs and babies will agree – and yes, I am using the word “accessory” to refer to my children, tongue in cheek of course). But with my new hat on, all of a sudden my neighbour who never looks up when I come outside is waving to me. I am making new friends on the playground as I drop Jalen off at school. Everyone is talking to me. It’s a whole new world.
Maybe it’s just the cool hat. So first lesson of the day, is dare to be different. Dare to wear and do things that stand out. Express your own unique spirit in every way, including the way that you adorn your physical temples, be it your bodies, your homes, or other spaces. Life is just much more interesting that way. When my mom used to drive around in her 100% purple convertible (purple exterior, purple interior, purple leather), I can tell you that she made a lot of friends. In fact, we had a lot of crazy colors and objects in our home growing up, and it always made for fun conversation.
Or maybe, the hat gives me secret superpowers. A friend of mine in my cultural production workshop (@Sara Mohammad) is a mask-maker. She made an interesting point the other day in class – usually therapy work talks about taking OFF the masks that we wear – unarmoring and showing our vulnerability by de-masking. However, she talked about how using masks can be empowering, such as for women who have suffered abuse, and can help them to take on a persona with a little extra strength to tell their story or to confront their abusers. I thought this was amazing – and as I reflected on it, it brought me back again to the superhero theme. Bruce Wayne wasn’t Batman without his costume and Batmobile. Jalen and Mateo definitely feel more powerful as they parade around in their capes (dishtowels tied around the neck) and superhero gloves (dishwashing gloves) and shields (pot lids) and swords (spoons). So maybe my hat has magic powers. Superfriendliness at 8 a.m. in the schoolyard before I’ve had my morning coffee. Superwarmth in the face of biting Canadian cold. Supercheer to face the day.
But I actually think the first piece, the fact that I’m happier in the hat, makes a even bigger difference. It feels like ME. So I feel like ME. And that’s a good way to feel. Whenever we are truly standing in our most authentic selves, be it through the words we speak, the actions we do, the energy we put out into the world, the choices we makes, or even in the silly hats we wear, we are at our most powerful. And those are superpowers we all can access, in our own unique way.