No I am not challenging you to a race…. well at least not with me.
I did a class recently on the three stages of adult development and it left me both melancholy and clear eyed. Since then it has served as a touchstone when petty things on social media are especially annoying or I am overly relying on my titles and education for confidence. Fully and only being Shawna guides me ( sometimes drags me) away from these comfortable trappings.
Then I met with a client. An insightful one, and we got around to her long ago but given up hobby. Forsaken in practicalities of motherhood, working, and time. This has echoed in my head and heart for days.
You see I have been working on my hanging bar strength. No reason. No competitions. My husband gets it though. Even though we are 8 years apart and did not know each other as children, we attended the same elementary school and had the same physical education teacher( Mr. Wayne Dickson). We both carry this endeavor in our DNA . Memories of the folding metal chair placed underneath our feet, the feel the cold bar in our grips and the sound of our classmates cheering us on. Trying to make it for 60 long seconds.
It occurred to me suddenly, but as certain as anything before ,that what I am trying to do with women, is not about having them change into someone else but back to themselves.
Before the titles, expectations and filters of others opinions. Before hurts, disappointments and doubt faded dreams. When we had only moments and the sense of being alive. The sounds of friends laughter. The smell of Mom’s Jean Nate perfume. The texture of Gram’s sweater when she hugged. Music. The sound of the of the jump rope rhythmically hitting the pavement. The anticipation of a new book.
Then we grow up and think and do solely for necessity. Never existing for no other reason but joy or trying a grand experiment JUST to see what might happen.
We often excel at past time travel to the bad. A perceived slight ,a string of words, an uncomfortable situation… Boom there we are . Perfect recall ,as after all we are so very practiced.
But do we ever on purpose CHASE the good? The smell of a soccer field in the fall. The swoosh of the basketball or shrill of a whistle. The feel of a good book under our fingers. Water rippling as we jump in. The first brush stroke hitting the canvas. Dancing for no reason, without music. Fingers gripping a musical instrument. The feel of a swing set under our bottoms. The taste of hot coco while watching the snow.
When I run what I am trying to do is go back. Foolish, I know. But if I do it correctly , paying close attention, I feel and hear the crunching of gravel under my feet and I am 12. I see the church steps I ran up repeatedly in my hometown. In the woods I touch trees. I am back up on top of one with my friend Terri, hiding out to talk about boys. When I pull up my hair in a certain way I feel my Mom’s hands doing it for me.
It used to be when younger Shawna showed up I pushed her away. She was silly and ineffectual. Powerless. But now I can view her as nothing but innocence , hope and a believer in magical possibilities. She wants to run, jump rope, read books, dance and laugh with people she loves who love her back. So I make sure she gets to play. Not all day. I can’t. But everyday, for even a few moments. Because she is me. And you my friend , in the memory of your very cells … are you.
Say your name. Just your name. Who is she?? Find her. Chase her. With everything you have.