IndiGlow - The Ordinary Illuminated

IndiGlow - The Ordinary Illuminated

A Life Examined

Thursday, July 31, 2014


"It's about being alive and feisty and not sitting down and shutting up,

even if people would like you to."

                                                                ~Pink

On road trips, I to listen to NPR.  The ear can only handle so much pop star.  It needs a little information and intelligence, even if hidden in a silly radio trivia game.  Anyway, between here and wherever, I learned (or I guess I was reminded) from a former astronaut (who would indeed know) what fear is.  Apparently, fear is an archaic response from our lizard brain keeping us wary of lions and marauders alike.


Which got me thinking:  I, as a rule, am not greatly daring around or within tall, wavering buildings.  I would feel braver swimming through barracuda than managing across a floating bridge over a flowing river.  Gondolas suspended by cables.  Heavy, ton-weighted gondolas suspended over verdant Vermont hills by whip-thin cables.  Don’t even get me started.  Those things.  I made my friends walk a 4,000 foot mountain because of my fear of the gondola.


But really, I am not afraid of the gondola.  Nope.  I’d sleep, eat, and hold a proper tea party in one as long as it was grounded.  It’s really a fear of falling, that someone didn’t wrench the thing right, and I would go careening through space to my death.  What I am afraid of is an under-paid summer technician with a monkey wrench.


We all have a fear, and I bet we all have a friend who carries a fear around that we just don’t get.  Me, I have a friend who is afraid of his own shadow, which is a hyperbole, but you know what I mean.  He doesn’t like speaking publicly, even to small groups of friends, opening up, standing near pretty women, sitting near pretty women.  He is afraid to make noise, to drum his damn drum.


I asked him: what exactly are you scared of, and he said I am scared that people will think I am stupid.


Stupid?  That’s the least of my concerns.  I live for stupid.  I am the band leader with the fuzzy hat and the scepter.  I was awarded Best Turkey at the Annual Thanksgiving Family Dinner Charade.  I am Phyllis Diller and Carol Burnett. 


It isn’t about making ‘em laugh, though.  It is about a commitment to a life examined.  


When my husband and I were on our very first date, we went for ice cream and wandered through some antique shops in the town square.  I put on one of those old lady hats with the birdcage netting, turned around to him, and said “daaahling, coffee, tea, or me?”  The man married me, and in our vows asked that I never lose my quirky.


Maybe you’ve noticed that there are a whole lot of selfies out there on social media, and the yoga community has transferred this pop culture empowerment into full-on yoga poses.  There are #publicdisplayofasana #urbanbadasses #yogaposeweekley #yogaofplace, and our own #indigogingerschallenge. 


In fact, when I went on vacation, I knew I wanted to post pictures in front of city monuments in a more attention-grabbing way than with Bob Fosse-meets-vacation- hands.  As a result, I rocked head stands all over the South: The Waving Girl in Savannah, Bathtub Mary’s in Atlanta, a walking bridge in Chattanooga, a million dollar house in Charleston.


If you’re going to do this, and you should, you will have to bridge a certain element of what will people think of me?  Because, trust me, I got a lot of those looks.


But, as Deepak Chopra said, What other people think of you is not your business. 


That may be the truest and most helpful statement I have seen in a while.  People can think whatever they want of me, even if it is wrong, embellished, fictional, or one-sided.  I know who I am. 


On a good day, I am compassionate with a side of quick anger.  I am petite, but think I am 6 feet tall.  I love chocolate and vegetables, but don’t care for fruit very much.  I like naps and strong narratives.  I like sloths, hedgehogs, platypuses, and bats.  I think washing dishes is a form of meditation, but I cannot sit still and meditate.  I like tulle, sparkly things, and a good cold beer.  I am complicated and quirky.  And it’s none of my business how you interpret my quirky.  I just am.


I have my fears.  I have my scared ofs.  Stupid is not one of them.  Would I go back to that lovely mountain in Vermont and take the gondola up?  Probably not.  Not because of fear though.  We picked wild strawberries and blueberries along the way. We communed with yellow butterflies and prickly grasses at our ankles.  That day was a life examined. 


I am currently a few days shy of going home to New Orleans, and I plan to do brave and stupid things, like an inversion on Bourbon St., maybe a crow pose on police horse, maybe horse pose in Jackson Square.  I will drink cold beer and slip down an oyster or two. 


Be stupid.  Be daring.  Create a life worth examining.  Be your own weird self.  Don’t let your fears make your decisions.  If people look at you, remember, it is none of your business.  They are simply unexamined.

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