The Art of Healing: October feels

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October has arrived in full dress, and I have been wearing the colors to match: Black, orange, maroon, magentas, and so on.

What pairs well with October and the heralding of fall? Spookiness of course.

Muntaha MohamedFall is my favorite time of year (although maybe I just say that during every transitional season). But I have officially started off the spooky season with a bang by watching “Candyman.” It was my first time in a movie theatre in a couple of years, and the return to the sound of plush leather squeaking under my legs was nothing but exhilarating.

I know that some of you may not be fans of the spooky season or horror. So I thought, in the essence of accessibility, I might take some time to describe for you why I love the haunting vibes as much as I do.

As I mentioned in my introductory column, I have been historically inspired by works of art that exude a “haunting beauty.” While watching “Candyman,” I was blown away by how visceral the imagery felt and looked. An incredible film to me stirs up the most “unheard-of” language in my soul. It brings alive emotions and experiences that I feel unable to describe within my capacities. And this was an incredible film.

“Candyman” was a work of art that captured every emotion under the sun. And I think that is why I love horror so much: because of its ability to include all facets of human emotions in one sitting, whether it be through writing, video, or audio. Precisely because it opens up the spectrum of fear, illusions, and the impossible, I believe it is much more expansive when it comes to delving into the human experience.

While watching Jordan Peel’s film (quick side note: we both attended Sarah Lawrence College) I felt captivated by the screen and all the intricacies of meaning that “Candyman” displayed. The movie showcased what good writing looks like translated onto a screen, and offered that feeling of being engrossed in a wonderful book. And I think that may be the height of achievement for me when it comes to art: its translatability across mediums. When I left the theater, my head was reeling with connections I observed through the character’s dynamics, plot, and imagery.

I’d recommend “Candyman” to anyone who feels like they can handle suspense and a little bit of horror. Just do what I do and close your eyes during the hard parts. I promise it helps. And if you feel open to a bit of fear, I promise it’s worth it.

This season overall feels so full of transformation. From the leaves falling, to the representations of life after death and vice versa, this season feels like a portal. Reflections fill my mind. Questions swirl:

What is on the other side of fear? What do I feel afraid of, and why? What aspects of my life, or relationship dynamics do I need to put to rest, and bury with honor? How can I move forward through what scares me?

If this season is bringing up reflection for you, scary or not, I encourage leaning into it.

I promise it’s worth it.

Muntaha Mohamed is an artist and activist who works for Portland Empowered, volunteers with Black POWER, and sits on the board of Mindbridge.

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