If you don’t try anything, then you can’t fail. More than that, if you are not seen to try, you can’t be mocked for making the attempt. You can’t be laughed at for looking a fool, or even for trying it in the first place. Or for wanting something that the others see as stupid. Or for going against the Group Think.
You also shrivel and don’t trust yourself anymore. Don’t trust your likes and dislikes. Your wants. You do what you think that others will find acceptable. You contribute to the Group Think. Even when you watch others doing something that you would like to do. And you wonder to yourself, “How do they do it? How do they not *care?* How do they just enjoy themselves?”
Of course, part of it is about where you grew up, the environment, the family, the school. Part is your own personality. And part is about just doing it anyway.
A little while back I Ran in a Race. I wrote about it here as a Something New, but the real New Thing was about overcoming the fear of embarrassment and shame. Yes, I came last (but only just and up against two hulking great Dads) and yes I stumbled and almost fell flat on my face (but I didn’t) and yes I enjoyed it and laughed all the way through (until I realised I had taken part in front of so many parents and people who knew me and oh my goodness could *crucify* me. But didn’t. At all. In fact, it was such a tiny blip in their lives only one person said anything to me about it afterwards at all, and that was a ‘Well done for doing it, I couldn’t have.’)
Anyway, I am currently on holiday. We timed our trip to match with a local festival with all sorts of entertainment, including an open air entertainer. First the kids were called up to have a go at limbo dancing. Then it was the adults’ turn. I damped down all the fear and stepped forward. In fact, I stepped up first. There must have been 8 or 9 in the end, from teenage lads to mums. And it was fun. The crowd cheered every success, the teenage lad had good style and we congratulated each other when we did well. It was good, honest, non-cynical, country living FUN.
The only rules were to get under the bar and stand up again without letting your elbows or hands touch the ground.
I managed the bar right down low. I did wonder, to be honest, if my…ahem…natural assets would prove a problem, but lying on the floor and wriggling backwards worked. And my ‘party trick’ has always been to be able to stand up from cross-legged without hands. So I won 🙂
But the best bit was going back to my son. I’d like to say I got a hug and admiration from him, but, to be honest, he just wanted to see what I’d won! No, the best bit was a lady grabbing me and saying, “You’re on my team!” There was another challenge and I was roped in for that one, too. I was part of the team, I was part of the crowd. I was part of life. And it was good.