What Happens When a Female Woody Allen Meets a Dutch Muppet

When I was in third grade I started taking gymnastics lessons. I actually wanted to take ballet but I couldn't convince any of my friends to switch. Either way I was interested in both for wardrobe reasons and I figured a leotard is a leotard. The first day of class I remember being told I couldn't wear tights with my leotard (I had early Edie Sedgwick aspirations), we had to put chalk on our hands which I found detestable from a sensory standpoint, and during class one someone explained the importance of tuck and roll. It was probably during the first class that someone said, "If you don't tuck your chin you could break your neck." That might be reasonable to say to most kids who don't have an insane memory and premature fear of death, however, I had seen "Harold and Maude" and totally knew where Harold was coming from. Those words, "You could break your neck" became a little cloud that hovered over every flip on the uneven bars, every somersault on the balance beam, with every move I feared paralysis or instant death. Perhaps needless to say I only lasted one session before deciding that no leotard was worth loosing the use of my lower limbs. When I was seventeen I started practicing yoga which I still continue to practice two or three times a week. After eleven years I still fear the hand and headstand..."I could break my neck" is on repeat during every attempt. I have a newish yoga instructor who, last night while I was once again flipping around attempting a handstand, just started very quietly saying "adventure" with each kick. After the third "adventure" I finally managed a handstand, it was glorious, and my fragile neck is intact. 

I think the worst thing that a nervous person could ever hear is, "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." I mean I love FDR, but as a rider on the fear train, I don’t need anyone to suggest that I should add fear to my list of worries. Despite what has been at times a general sense of Woody Allen-esque neurosis, I have managed to have a lot of adventures. Seven years ago I was on study abroad in Strasbourg, France (adventure!) and became roommates with Megan (whom I now refer to as my platonic life partner). Megan was probably the first person I had ever met who really encouraged me to take risks, certainly the first person that I believed when she told me I would be fine. Since that first day in France we have had many hilarious, awkward, and strange escapades across many countries, including a drunken promise to move back to France which we actually did, and we are continuing our antics here in Chicago. It’s a game changer of the largest proportion to have someone encouraging you to do things you would otherwise be too afraid to attempt, even better when that person loves your crazy ideas too. I feel lucky to have a posse of ladies here, my dear PLP at the helm, who are fearless and who constantly remind me to forget about the tuck and roll and just enjoy the somersault.

1 comment:

  1. Here's a crazy escapade. Crying at work from reading a blog post. Happy and thankful tears.