Training for my Training

One of the places I am the most comfortable in my life is on stage.

On stage I have no issues doing things like this.

Maggie the Pirate, 2011 (photo credit Erik Carter)

Or this:

Assassins, 2010 (I’m giving Colonel Sanders the evil eye)

Or even this.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, 2006. Nice hair, right?

My stage and teaching experience, combined with being the Mommy of a little girl who is a NUT gives me ample opportunity to be silly.

Lily being a nut.

But in my everyday life, I am very, very serious.

In fact it is difficult for me to be silly off stage, or when it’s not for my kid’s benefit.

Me wearing bunny ears. Because it was Halloween. This is apparently the look I have while wearing bunny ears. I needed to counteract the silly with some very grown-up coffee.


Maybe silly isn’t the right word.

I know how to be silly. And in the right environment I even enjoy it.

But you know what I’m just not good at? Like, not at all? Not even a little bit?

Looking foolish.

As a matter of fact, the fear of looking foolish paralyzes me. I will avoid new opportunities, even fun ones, if I think I may end up looking foolish in the process. The trouble with that is that MOST new opportunities present at least the possibility of looking or feeling foolish. Which is probably why I spend so much time doing what I already know how to do.

Except… Project 40 is the opposite of all that. It’s about stretching myself physically and emotionally. Doing things, trying things, and potentially (gasp) failing at things. Maybe even publicly. Yikes. It will take major courage. And finding comfort in the possibility of foolishness will take practice.

So a few weeks ago, I decided to make the leap.

We are active members of our local YMCA. We go several nights a week to swim. And we attend as many family events as we can. A few months ago there was a new exciting addition to the family nights. This thing:

Forgive the blurry picture. It’s an action shot.

Ryan and Lily were psyched. I was entertained. For them, of course. It didn’t even enter my imagination that I would ever go on that thing. I might fall down. And people might laugh at me. Not with me. AT me. Nope. Not gonna happen.

But a few weeks ago as we started packing up the swim bag for family night, something clicked. If I was gonna do this thing- this huge project in a totally public forum- I was going to have to learn to fail, (not a strength) and then laugh. So I tossed my suit in with the rest of the family’s and put it on at the YMCA without fanfare. Didn’t want to discuss my plans in case I chickened out.

My first attempt at the giant bouncy thingy resulted in me falling in the water in about four seconds. I screamed on the way down. Because I mean! that’s what girls do when they are having fun and fall, right?

I vowed to cut the screaming next time.

Once I figured out how to get past the second obstacle (after many failed attempts) I never fell again and was able to complete the bouncy thingy over and over. Only then was the camera allowed to come into play.

Here I am trying to get around the first obstacle. I am deciding that clearly I’m too small for this. I fall back on that excuse a lot.


Here’s where it occurs to me that I am potentially taking this too seriously. Progress!

….and… Regression. Because the look on my face here tells us quite clearly that I am solving serious world problems.

Feeling a little more confident…

See how my hands are in the air? That’s me letting loose.

The bouncy thing at the YMCA (it probably has a better name, btw) was a test for me. Can I put myself out there? Can I take risks? Not just physical ones. But emotional ones. Can I be vulnerable enough? If this was any indication, then yes. I absolutely can.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bea-blends
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 15:18:48

    I love your blogs!


  2. Trackback: Project 40 so far | Thoroughly Modern Mommy

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