Thursday, 15 May 2014

Chapter 2: On Putting Yourself Out There Somewhere ...

Back in February I went to see Fuerzabruta at The Roundhouse.  Again.  It is a show where acrobatics and aerial fun meet carnival spirit and general clowning around.  It is Fuerzabruta, and its previous incarnation De La Guarda over a decade ago, that inspired me to dream of one day learning aerial skills myself. In the show, performers may rifle through your bag, crack a polystyrene board on your head, or if you're lucky they may take you up on top of an inflated dome.  For the rest of the time you simply look on in wonder as they skim round silk curtains, or gaze up at the mermaids sliding across suspended water tanks and you think, that looks fun, I'd love to have a go.

This time round I had gone with half a dozen friends. At the end, drums beating, audience toe-tapping, they moved us into a huge circle.  One of the performers caught my eye, as I knew she would, and I was dragged into the centre to get the party dancing. I tried to grab a couple of friends to come with me, en passant, but they refused ...  So, I simply had to shut my eyes, pretend there weren't several hundred people gathered round.  A few more people joined in, on came the sprinklers and there was a spurt of spinning joy like a whirling dervish, then it just petered out.  Talk about an anti-climax.  

I told this story a few days later as a cautionary tale to friends who were talking about the need to open up.  Cringe. Why open yourself up and risk exposure? It's embarrassing. Why make a fool of yourself?  It's humiliating.  

Someone said that what I was suffering from is what Brené Brown would call "a vulnerability hangover":

Brené (and trust me, after you watch her in action you will feel you are on first name terms) makes the case that actually vulnerability is the most accurate measure of courage there is, and that it is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.  Well, that's reassuring!

The points she makes on the fear of failure, the straightjacket of secrecy, silence and judgement that feeds our restrictive sense of shame, challenge my decision to keep this blog as an open secret for a few kindred spirits, while shielding it from those who might otherwise judge.  

Brené quotes Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I still shudder at the thought of sending out a tweet or posting a FB status update, but, hey, small steps, maybe it's time to circulate an email, bcc of course  ...

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