By now some of you are aware of ‘The Roller-blading Incident’ – yes, the one where I thought I could roller-blade, again. I mean, who the hell can’t roller-blade? It looks so easy when co-ordinated people do it. It’s not that I can’t roller-blade at all – but I am just not at the level to speed skate for 20km between 8 and 10 pm on a Monday evening. This much I have learnt! But I did it anyway, unknowingly as usual, and holding onto M’s hand all the way as I urged him to drag me faster so we wouldn’t be the very last and looking like a combination of the big round-eyed emoticon and the one baring all teeth.
It was fun for the first five minutes. And after half an hour we decided to catch the bus home. This was after the official photographer came to ask if he could have a tow too, emphasising his fingerless hand and saying that the world would be a better place if everyone was as kind as M, before speeding off to catch those happy smiling faces at the front of the pack again. Yes he was taking photos WHILE rollerblading AND he only had one functioning hand. I got it. Then the organisers delicately informed us that there was a car following at the back, should I feel I’d had enough. How lovely. We took the bus instead.
But all this to say that I’m really glad I did it!!
Why? Because I don’t mind being shit. It’s a very humbling experience.
Growing up it was not always this way. I hated being picked last for the volleyball team as much as the next loser (YES that was me! Yes I still hate volleyball!) Isn’t it great to be an adult and not be FORCED to participate?
It is so great to sit at home all day with a book – ain’t it? To have your chai tea with rice almond milk in your bestest cup with the polka-dots! To rent the kind of videos and watch the shows you like to watch, to sit in your favourite spot in the café, to drink your gin and tonic with one squeeze of lemon and have that all-round ‘shaken not stirred’ certainty. These comforts make life swell and sweet.
But then, I have also experienced how thrilling it can be to do something extra-ordinary. And we tend to get better at blocking embarrassment as we get older. It’s not that I totally love looking foolish as it may seem, but it doesn’t feel so shameful as it did when I was a kid and I do see some benefits to it.
My reaction to doing embarrassing things now is just to laugh about it. Sometimes I wonder though if I laughed less, would I be better at stuff? Perhaps the laughing is hindering the serious business of getting good. But then sometimes it is the only option.
And why are the Swiss so bloody co-ordinated? Is it because they take sport seriously and don’t laugh like fools? Some years ago, I remember M’s surprise at me crying out with laughter, trying to yell ‘stop’ as I was being dragged uphill, face in the snow with legs still attached to the ski-lift. He thought it was an inappropriate reaction at the time. Now he is used to it.
It is so fun to laugh about being an idiot though. This is what I miss most about being young and doing inappropriate things and not taking myself as seriously as I do now. I guess this is why people like getting drunk too. But you don’t need to drink to make a fool of yourself … just get out there and live a bit louder – there’ll be plenty to laugh about!
In Debbie Ford’s 21 Day Consciousness Cleanse, day 12 is about The Power of Risk. She writes about a time when she was travelling that she realised the thrill of trying different things and being in different places each day and her ‘whole being seemed to come alive.’ She realised that her ‘soul was having fun’.
Can you relate to that feeling of your soul having fun?
I think of my Mum here in Switzerland during the winter – sitting on the ledge in the hot spring – an uneasiness with being unable to swim but I’ve never seen eyes so big and alive – her soul was definitely having fun.
My Dad has surprised me too with his eagerness to go on roller-coasters and water-slides. These are two people I consider to be proper adults – but these are the soul’s desires – are they not?
Your soul is infinitely creative. It is alive and expansive in nature. It is curious and playful, changing with the tides of time.
If you think of the best experiences you’ve had, you probably had to risk something or push the boundaries of who you think you are. And you probably felt pretty good for doing it.
The risk may be the risk of looking silly and for some people these kinds of risks are the worst. But this is why I enjoy the theatre club so much, tip-toeing on the edge between fool and actor. It leaves me feeling exhilarated afterwards, proud that I chipped away at Fear Mountain one more time.
You don’t have to start with Everest (though that is always an option) – Ford suggests that we get up each morning and ask ‘What can I do that is different?’
If you continue to stick with the same familiar habits and make the same choices each day, whether it is to turn on the television when you get home, check your email at lunch, or eat the same seven meals for dinner each week, you will become stale and robotic, refusing to have your life show up differently than it did yesterday, boring yourself and starving your soul.
And so what if we look like fools? Kaycers from Joyful Cacophony explains the role of the fool in Tarot Cards.
As number zero in the Major Arcana he is symbolic of pure possibility. He represents innocence, spontaneity, new beginnings and urges us to take a leap of faith. The Fool seems oblivious to danger, so pure are his intentions to enjoy himself and live in the moment. One day at a time is his motto.
So you could do something different today – brush your teeth with the opposite hand and see what craziness comes of it. You may end up doing something awkward, but you will live to laugh about it and have a deeper respect for yourself. And you could get some great material out of it too.
M : Well, what sports are you good at?
Mi : Yoga…. I’m o-kay at basketball too.
M : Can you dribble the ball?
Mi : I’m not sure.
M : You’re good at walking. You like that!
Mi : I’m very good at walking.
have to hold your head
higher than your heart.
And so I didn’t.