She shoots! She scores? Had a fun time missing it.

Almost at the end of August and it’s a beautiful day.  A bit of a cool breeze while the sun shines above.  Summer is almost over.  Kids are getting ready to go back to school.  Kids.  I am sure that summer is never long enough for them.  We adults like to say that we remember what it was like being a kid, but the actual playtime, gaytime, fun feeling, is a distant memory.   The stories are there, but the actual excitement we felt playing the games are not as apparent.  So, when I saw an empty playground with one child, one basketball, and a very high basketball net, I couldn’t help doddle at the stop sign to see what would happen.

Playgrounds have come a long way from the equipment we used to play on.  Everything nowadays seems to be tamed to the point that I’m surprised safety harnesses aren’t in use for each jungle gym.  The components from slide to monkey bars have your basic menage a trois…red, yellow, blue, happy colour scheme.  Our slides used to be made of nice steel.  So shiny and slippery, until the sweltering heat of summer.  Then, you either lay down to burn your back and slide down quickly, or your calves and thighs left skin behind as you melted your way down the burning hot slide.  WHAT FUN!  And it sure was!

Swings.  To be able to fly like a bird was incredible!  Learning how to use your legs in that back and forth motion to propel yourself was a talent.  Then you would get daring and lean your head back and hope that you wouldn’t behead yourself.  Or how about the “jump off the swing in midair” trick?  Yeah there were a few miscalculations and you would land flat on your back.  Some broke ankles.  Meh.  It was all in a day’s play.

Now the tire swing.  There was a dizzying experience.  Truly.  Four youths, hanging onto rusted chains, sitting on a rubber truck tire.  Now, does the pusher of the tire swing it straight? Heck no!  You grab that tire and you start running in a circle. Then as you are about to spin out from dizziness, you grab that chain and spin your best friends around and hope someone barfs.  Oh yeah!  Goal accomplished!  If no one vomited, then you had the pleasure of watching them get off the swing and fall down cause they couldn’t walk straight.  Glory days!

Of the painful child apparatuses, I would declare that the see-saw was the most butt fatal.  True?  Yes.  I believe the term “see-saw” came from a child exclaiming the following:

Mom:  Jr., where is your brother?

Jr:  First I see him on the wooden lever.

Mom:  See?

Jr:  Yeah, then I saw he were gone.

Yup, something like that.  You see them go up then you saw them fall on their behinds as the best and unfairest part was that someone would always rather jump off and watch you flop down on your derriere.  It wasn’t about going up and down.  It was about who would torture who first.

The good ol’ days. So much fun.  It was all about having laughs…ahem…the last laugh.

But, I digress.  Truly, more than usual this time.

Back to my pretty girl in the park.  Crouching ball player, wishing tiger.  Wishing that she would jump up high enough with the ball and slam dunk it in the net.  Crouch low, ball set in palm of left hand and clutching with right hand, spring up, MISS!   I noticed that she was by herself. Perhaps if a parent had been around there  might have been tears of woe.  Since there were no witnesses, she seemed content to pick up her ball and try again.  Crouch, hold ball, lay up, jump.  Miss again.

Sadly, I had to leave my stop sign and continue driving before a cacophony of horns could sound off.  I smiled.  I was proud of that little girl.  I was happy for her.  It also made me think.  Was she playing or practicing?  Was someone hoping she would be the next great basketball player?  Was she going to try out for the basketball team at school?  Was she trying to outplay a sibling or friend?  Was she just having fun and trying to see if she could get the ball in the basket?  So many questions and no answers.

Driving away I smiled.  First, I loved seeing a child playing outside.  With video games and tv shows and DVDs many children don’t see the outdoors.  Second, I loved her tenacity.  I loved her precarious approach to getting the correct stance in order get the perfect shot.  Then, watching in slo mo as the ball went up…straight up…no curve to actually get it up and over.  Ball in air.  Ball drops.  No biggie. She crouched right back down and picked it up again.

Still smiling, I thought about how, yet again, a child had taught me an important life lesson.  The basket was the goal.  You crouch, get ready, get set…miss.  It happens often in life.  High school.  Bad marks in a class.  Fail..  You could go for your driver’s license.  Fail.  You could get married and have it not work out.  Fail.  You could apply for a job and not get it.  Fail.  You could sit at home and do nothing, ensuring that you never fail at anything.  That too is a fail.

Life is about trying things.  Life is about exploring.  Life is about failing.  Through so-called failure, you win.  Failure is about learning.  At first it might not work out, but that failure taught you something very important.  It was a guideline.  It was a message to you.  Many great inventions were created by oopses.  I admire that kind of failure.

Nowadays, I don’t worry about failure.  My life is about what I haven’t failed at.  There were many wishes and dreams I gave up on because I was worried someone would laugh at me or criticize me.  Now, not trying new things is my new definition of failure.

So, if you see pictures of my fantastic artwork (sale of canvas and paint at art shop).  If you see pictures of lopsided casseroles or flat birthday cakes, enjoy them with me.

She shoots, she…could’ve scored…but she had a fun time missing it.

 

 

 

Fear of Trying…

Nope, that’s not a typo.  There are so many people in the world that have a fear of “flying” but over the years I have discovered that I am one of those people who has a fear of “trying”.

It started way back in childhood.  The need to have straight A’s in school to impress my mother.  I studied and worked hard to impress my teachers.  Oh, I was a doozie.  I remember actually making research projects of my own to give to my teachers.  Yup…need for attention was way high!  As I got older, it didn’t change much.  My identity was based on what other people thought of me.  If they liked me, then I liked me.  A hard way to get around in life.  The thought of being mocked or laughed at took over my life and not in a good way.

I never signed up for any school sports.  I might look stupid if I missed catching a ball.  My team mates would be mad if I didn’t run fast enough in relay races.  Playday…that should’ve been a fun day.  It would mix children from all different grades and create teams.  There would be all kinds of games like dress up or shoe toss and you would compete against other teams.  Fun right?  My fear of trying led to such nervousness that I would screw up so many simple games.  The year our team won 3rd place I was so excited!  I ran home to show my mom and got, “How come you didn’t get first place?”  Devastating.

Today’s thought isn’t about pity.  It isn’t about relieving sad parts of childhood.  It’s more about looking back to see how much I have grown as a person and how I finally managed to quash my fear of trying.

My first defense mechanism was humour.  If I tripped going up some stairs or something I would laugh at myself first.  Beat everyone to the punch.  That helped a lot.  It’s no fun making fun of someone if they are already making fun of themselves right?

Next, self-confidence.  That was a hard one.  When I realized it was most important that I impress myself instead of others it really helped me out a lot.  Funny thing is that this self-awareness was not something I had realized on my own.  It was when I started dating Wiseguy that I began a very interesting journey to self-awareness and confidence.  It was strange having someone say to me, “do what you think is right” when it came to family situations.  I didn’t know what was right.  Right to me meant making everyone else happy and not caring about how felt.  So, with lots of talking and analyzing he helped me figure out how that really worked.

Even trying new things.  I wanted to take a writing course.  He said go ahead.  I was averaging 94%.  When it came time to submit a story for my final exam guess what happened?  Yup, fear of trying popped up again.  What if they didn’t like my story?  What if I failed the exam?  What if … what if…and that was it.  Never got my certificate.  Wiseguy didn’t harass me or bug me about it.  I guess he realized it was going to be quite a journey for me.

Wiseguy would take me to new places, new restaurants.  We would drive someplace where he had never been before.  It was all about leaving the comfort zone.  That fear of failure or looking stupid in front of others would almost cripple me sometimes. Example:  I would never order food in a restaurant that I would not eat easily with a fork and knife or spoon.  Spaghetti?  Never…what if the noodle suddenly slapped me in the face?  Chicken wings…so messy.  Soup…I might slurp it.  Wiseguy hung in there and year after year I would get better. He would tease me about ordering the same thing so he would dare me to try something new.  My Fear of Trying became the Year of Trying.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times that my stomach gets so queasy from fear and it takes me a bit of self talk to get me to realize that life is about trying new things.  Failure isn’t necessarily a bad things.  You learn so much from errors if you take the time to step back.

I have been asked to emcee a very important upcoming event.  When first asked I got that wonderful, sickening, stomach tightening feeling.  My brain began racing with the usual What ifs.  Then the miracle happened as it nowadays normally does.  The excitement of trying something new, like Wiseguy had taught me, was worth diving head first into the pool of life.  I am sooooo excited and looking back, I can’t imagine why I would’ve turned down such a wonderful honour from someone whom I love so much.

My wish to everyone today, grab that one little fear of trying that you have.  Shake hands with it, wish it well on its new journey OUT of your life.  Make this your Year of Trying.    ♥