Thursday, July 29, 2010

I like to play

I went to an underground dodgeball game the other night. Having grown used to open skies, soft grass, even softer nerf balls, six to eleven players on each side, and the pretty casual feel of it all, I was not prepared for the super caffeinated, Road Warrior experience of night time underground dodgeball. Concrete everywhere, lots of noise, florescent lights, thirty plus players on each side, dozens of hard rubber balls flying back and forth at potentially damage causing speeds. For a full hour and a half. It was, quite simply, overwhelming.

My life, lately, has felt like that. Nonstop hard rubber balls coming at me from all sides. An almost steady barrage of one thing after another. Look away for a second and---THWAT! A few times I just walked right into it, like some dumb, wide eyed baby, not realizing I might get hurt. Other times I realized I'd been hearing warning whispers for weeks, "Look out for that fast ball that will come at you from the right, Cheryl! Here's a cough just like you know when to remind you to keep your damn eyes open!" Other times I saw the ball coming, nice and slow, giving me time to think, ok, hmm, what am I going to do here? Step out of the way or try to catch this one?

I admit I was tempted to turn back after sizing up the situation in that underground car park. I wondered if I should have stayed home, saved myself the gas. Choosing safety and comfort over...what? Who knows how every decision to stay and join the game might affect the rest of my day, my week, my life? I wanted to find out. Even if I might get hurt again...

Besides, it's
not in my nature to stay home. A friend, in college, once told me I tended to carefully deliberate over things...only to impulsively go ahead and do what I want anyway.

True. I look at a situation, try to predict all the possibilities, what I might do in each...and then I step into the game and generally surprise myself each and every time. Life surprises me each and every time. Hopefully, I have grown wiser and better at self protection since my college days. Though I don't think I have grown any better at predicting what I will do. But I have definitely grown more resilient in any case. I play, I fall, I cry, I heal, I get up and join in again. Then I stumble, I dust myself off, I go play some more. I rest a bit, gathering my bearings, then I dive back in.

Just this last week, for example, a few hard ones have hit me squarely and most painfully on the face. 1. The death of my beloved laptop, taking two month's worth of writing, and all my art programs, with it. And 2. a very bad, very demoralizing job interview, precious hours I will never see again --- for a job I didn't even want, no less. But, at that moment, could not afford to turn down either. Even dance therapy wasn't enough to make me feel better afterwards.

But some wonderful things have happened, too. Things I could never have predicted, reminding me how every moment is filled with potential, how I am never alone, never without support, and my life is as joyful as I allow it to be.

today is a new day. Old friends and new are inviting me to come out and play. Tonight...some kickball. Or will I end up playing underground dodgeball again? I'm not sure yet. Then, tomorrow, dancing. And Saturday and Sunday, maybe some kickball again. Or who knows what? Can't wait to find out.


  1. I so admire your spirit of play. When I get hit by life I tend to pull in and take some time to recover. Your dancing and dodging your way through difficulties is inspiring. xoxo

  2. Such a nice post. The thing consistant throughout is your hope and positivity. Seems like that is what keeps the joy coming, even when we do fall hard and get hurt. There is another day and we don't know what gifts may be in store for us.

    I've had those demoralizing job interviews.. oh, man, they suck ass. However that was one tiny moment in time and you will overcome. A moment in time hardly captures who we truly are.

    All the best to you and your tomorrows!

  3. Hi La Belette Rouge, me too - I really need to rest, recouparate and reflect after a setback! At least for a while. Can't do it all alone! xoxo

    Hi Shannon, all part of the game, right? Not possible not to make mistakes now and then. I was just reading my journal from five years ago and I was struck by how I kept trying to protect myself from hurt and disappointment, how horrible I was at predicting good and bad things coming my way. Deep breath, it's all good. As the Buddhists say, joy is our natural state which we keep muddying over with thought.

    Yeah, one tiny moment in time...I'm over it now pretty much, and just focusing on the next task at hand.

    Thanks, you're the best!!!

  4. Cheryl - You have a wonderful way of turning your everyday experiences into metaphors for life that we can all learn from and take inspiration from. I love reading your posts.

    You never explained the art that accompanies this post. They are yours I assume? They're wonderful.

  5. Thanks Chris! Just trying to find the lesson in the experience. Nothing like putting things into words to put everything into perspective. It's really gratifying to know my unburdening somehow helps anyone else out there too. So, thank you so much for being one of my readers!!!

    Oh, the artwork is from a pack of tarot -- or soul coaching --- cards I have. Not sure who the artist is but I really love the artwork too. I'm trying to see myself as that girl in the Opening card, a great, big open heart...

  6. dodgeball! oh how i hated that game as a kid!

    and maybe it is a metaphor for life! i was always HORRIFIED by that game, and many times i am horrified by life when the balls are flying fast and furious at me! gulp!

    when i was a kid and had to play german dodgeball (which is dodgeball on STEROIDS -- balls flying from every direction -- just horrifying), i tended to "accidentally" step out of bounds so i could be disqualified. i think i have the same approach in life, but it really doesn't work!

  7. Hi Cheryl, great and heartfelt reading as always. It's wonderful that you can be positive too and know that writing helps. I sometimes sit and record my thoughts when I am going through a tough patch. They are just for my consumption but they help give me perspective. As for dodgeball - never heard of it but it sounds like hell on concrete to me! lol

    Check out my latest blog post about knowing when things are wrong in the kitchen. I am trying to develop my humour/humor side of things and am thinking of starting a new blog purely for funny observations.

  8. Hi Drollgirl, Wow! German dodgeball sounds horrible! And kinda fun too --- if nerf balls are used. Otherwise, no way!

    Hi Phil, thanks! Yes, writing is great therapy. - Hell on concrete! It can be. It can be hell on grass too...

    Yes, I'll be sure to check out your new blog!

  9. Beautiful drawings!
    Sometimes life feels like a harsh sport where everyone trow balls at you, but remember how good does it feel when you learn how to catch those balls!
    Good luck with a job, I wish you to find something you like that's well paid.


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