On Halloween night, I attended the parade in downtown Brunswick, hosted by the Brunswick Parks and Recreation Department and local businesses.

Needless to say, I was slightly anxious about attending the night’s festivities due to the recent shooting in Lewiston. This tragic disaster for all involved sat very heavy on my heart and mind. I graduated from Lewiston High School in 1976 and I lived in the area until I was in my 50s.

It was very difficult for me to attend the Halloween parade. There have been so many anxiety-producing incidents and tragic losses in our country and around the world, my anxious feelings have sort of taken control of my life – even though I have fought hard not to let them.

Recently, though, I have made a real concerted effort not to be afraid anymore, to attend the events I want to attend, to have fun and joy.

I am so tired of other people’s behavior dictating what I can and cannot do. My response has been a real fear of being hurt or killed, a real anxiety-producing fear which has completely taken over my life. No more! My past fear has kept me from going to see relatives because I am afraid to fly. It has kept me from going to the mall or places where there are big crowds. I had stopped going to plays, concerts, and even church for the last 10 years or so.

This is very sad. As a result, I have decided to change my behavior. I cannot change anyone else’s behavior or actions but I have decided to, as my grandmother used to say, “take the bull by the horns” and change what I can change. The famous “Serenity Prayer” tells us this.


Since this recent decision to change, I have attended the Candlelight Halloween concert at First Parish in Portland. I attended a performance by singer and harpist Loreena McKennitt, at the Merrill Auditorium in Portland. And earlier this week I attended Brunswick’s Halloween parade. I am so proud of myself. I have been having so much fun with my new choice of venturing out no matter what or how much anxiety I feel.

Halloween is one of my favorite days and nights. I love being with children and taking pictures of everyone and everything. The parade in Brunswick was so much fun. There were so many children with their pets dressed in costumes, their parents dressed in costumes.

Joy was all around us. One baby, dressed in a red lobster costume, was sitting quietly in a large silver lobster pot. Her parents were wearing lobster outfits. It took me just a second to understand the baby in the pot. Maine humor could be found all around me.

There were also two beekeepers in complete beekeeper outfits, including the hoods, with their black dog, sitting calmly at their feet, dressed as a bumblebee. All the costumes were just so magical. It was so wonderful to see so many out in the evening knowing what had just happened in Lewiston with their tragedy of a live shooter. I think many had the same idea as me. Don’t let fear ruin your joy.

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