Sunday, June 26, 2011

I See London

A lady wore a dress to yoga on Friday night. Who gives a shift (snort!), you ask? Well, apparently I did, and I guess I just need to write it out to figure it out.

From the get-go, I could tell it was gonna be a weird class. There was a lot of space in the room so I had a hard time locating my—for lack of a better term—“power” spot, and it took me 3 tries to get it right. Then, there were a bunch of people who put their mats facing the “wrong” direction, which I was delighted about because it made a few others all huffy-puffy. (Some shim-sham take on schadenfreude? Heck if I know, I’m just a total amateur human being as of late.) So I decided to turn the “wrong” way, too, because otherwise I would have been directly facing the lady with the dress, which I knew would be a distraction. Our very earnest teacher went with the flow.

Actually, I didn’t realize she was wearing a dress (super short, loose, striped, more like a night shirt) until we started moving around, when it was falling down and riding up and revealing her granny panties. So…it’s not just me, that’s sort of curious, right? Would it give you pause? Now, I’m ashamed to admit it but I’ll do it anyway, but I was initially disgusted by what my fear-biting imagination perceived as an overwhelming need for attention on her part. (Hello?! Solipsism-colored glasses much?) Then, I felt awful about myself for having such a nasty thought, so I tried to immediately cue up a positive one (there’s a fancy name for that process, but I’m not sure what it is-- don’t worry, it’s not “life coach” tho!).

It must have worked, because all of a sudden the dress was no longer a threat (what?! Like the cockroach in the elevator last night?!), and I concluded that, even if she either had simply forgotten her pants and/or was just clueless, she clearly really wanted to be in class and was a very joyous practitioner (I could feel it--she was right next to me, remember?)—plus I heard her say “Wow!” when she was leaving—so I couldn’t care less if she was wearing a skunk suit and playing the xylophone.

On the bus home my thoughts returned to the dress. For one, it made me think about the general effect for you and everyone else should you wear something inappropriate/out of context for a situation. At the very least, doing so can re-frame the situation and your experience of it, and to me there’s something very exciting about that. I couldn’t come up with any really good examples, but I did remember that I wore a rose-patterned table cloth to a Pogues concert once. And for years I wore standard-issue all-black to jazz class, until I switched up one day and began to wear…Pink! Red! Green! It actually felt like a new me in a new space, which is kinda cool if the space is a place where you are trying to grow and learn. And clothing is an easy “Reframing for Dummies” way to do it, but heck, I’m still at the intro level for sure.

And the other thing the dress made me think of… there’s always something really cool and brave about showing up to something new with your…granny panties?! No!! With your open mind and willingness to learn. As a kid I didn’t London (my new word—a verb!—for trying something you’ve never done before) very much, and I didn’t fail a lot because I only did things I knew I’d be good at. I literally never got back on the horse when he bucked me off (his name was Blue) and dang me if I’m not trying to make up for it now.

I think it’s good to suck at something because you can’t go anywhere but up. Case in point, the video we made for the Feline Forum in Chicago, September 2009. There’s Bing in a top hat (Sweetie! He just sat there doing exactly what I wanted him to do while I floundered around trying to film), and Elyse and Cindy belting it out. In this case, I was the one with the granny panties in the singing dept. (I’m so bad!), but Elyse was such a firm but gentle production manager, and I always trust the creative process, so the whole thing took on a life of its own. For me, the Londoning wasn’t in the doing, but in the documenting. I always think I look like such a doofus, so I’d rather remember how it felt doing it than how I looked doing it. So far this has served me pretty well and allowed me to make random experiments (i.e. wearing a table cloth). I wish I’d figured out you’re supposed to look at the camera, though, even if you are wearing a cat mask and wagging your tail.

The cosmos offers so many opportunities to London:

P.S. Aha! Perhaps the dress/GPs was one reason why our teacher suggested we do many of the poses with our eyes closed. A whole different world! I wonder, but not too much.

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