In defense of my lifelong love of skulls

I love skulls and skeletons.

I have as far back as I can remember. I remember loving the skull and crossbones on the Jolly Roger pirate flag from the very first time I saw it in a children’s book.

My personal collection of pretty skulls and skeletons began during one of our family’s first vacations to Mexico.

While strolling small-town streets in bright sunshine, I fell in love with sugar skulls and tiny skeleton-themed shadowbox nichos in shops packed with souvenirs and local crafts.

These beautifully-adorned skulls and skeletons never seemed dark or scary to me; on the contrary, they are joyful and full of life. I purchased a few on that first trip and have since added to my collection on each subsequent visit back to Mexico.

Little by little, sugar skulls and skeletons have gone mainstream here in America. Now, every year when Halloween season rolls around, our favorite stores are filled with fun and festive Dia de los Muertes decor.

I cannot possibly buy them all but, believe me, the temptation is real. My home office is filled with brightly colored sugar skulls and friendly skeletons; our Christmas tree even features a few festive skulls and the odd bone or two.

I am not trying to be culturally inappropriate. I have great respect for the Mexican day of the dead, but I don’t pretend to celebrate it; I don’t have an altar or ofrenda decorated with monarchs and marigolds.

I just find myself drawn to colorful skulls and skeletons. It’s not cultural or religious; it’s not even purely aesthetic. They speak to my soul on some level.

I’ve never liked the scary or macabre-looking skulls preferred by heavy metal enthusiasts and bikers. For me, skulls are beautiful and skeletons are sweet. I even love the really sweet ones made out of chocolate or gummy candy.

I also adore crystal skulls carved from pretty rocks; I have a rapidly growing crystal skull collection.

I have not gotten my hands on one of the amazing 12-foot-tall Home Depot skeletons yet, but I would love to someday. I do have a tiny replica, my desk skeleton, who has been with me for years and is my little buddy.

People have asked me over the years why I’m so enamored with skulls and skeletons, and I never give the same answer twice. “They remind me of my mortality and humanity,” I might say.

Or, “They are proof that racism is stupid; they represent that we are all the same underneath.”

Or, “They are a joyful reminder to make the most of our one short, amazing life before we are but bones.”

These are all true statements, but the fact is that I’ve loved skulls and skeletons since long before I was able to come up with such reflective and introspective statements.

I have always loved them. I have always been drawn to them. And I will continue to collect them, although I’m becoming more and more choosy with my purchases as my office is quite small and jam-packed.

Perhaps I’ll have to switch over to collecting skull and skeleton tattoos at some point; it’s honestly a bit surprising to me that I don’t have one of those yet.

Are you a skull lover too, or do you collect something equally bizarre? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below or over on Facebook or Instagram.

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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