There is an element of spectacle about what happened to me. I had just come home from Burundi and everyone was like, How did that girl survive Africa?!?!? There was a huge “Princess & the Pea” element to my desire to move to the 3rd world that made people (myself first of all) look on with wide-eyed wonder at the whole thing.
And then word circulated that something had happened and I was on life support in Oregon. My friends called each other and tried to break the news gently. One of the reactions was, No, it can’t be her – she’s fine. She was bouncing around here last week.
So I was already being observed bc it was an uncommon choice (certainly one that no one was expecting from me) to want to turn my back entirely on the American Dream and move to Africa. But I never got that far.
When I first got home I was at church with Ai Ai and as I maneuvered into my chair I felt like everyone was watching (they kind of were – they were all poised to intervene if I needed assistance.) Boo Boo, I hissed, I’m such a sideshow right now.
No you’re not, she comforted me. Mind the wall. (She didn’t want me to hit myself.)
Last week I told my Trainers about the element of spectacle surrounding this situation as part of the context for a “Goal Reset” I’ve been thinking of for a while now. I told them it was like I got lit on fire, jumped off a bridge into a roaring river and made it.
Side note: Special thanks to the dear friends who helped me think through this statement. I was originally afraid it sounded too bold. But once we talked through it we agreed that I wasn’t overstating the case. I also got some good laughs regarding these theoretical scenarios:
This is my new analogy to illustrate the difference bw Trainer D and Coach R:
(1) Theoretical conversation with Trainer D:
Me: Hey, D, I want to jump off a cliff.
Trainer D: [holding hand aloft in a “rock on” symbol] I’m coming with! Let’s take my bike. [His ill-advised motorcycle.]
(2) Theoretical conversation with Coach R:
Me: Hey, R, I want to jump off a cliff.
Coach R: Official response – That will not help you reach your long-term goals. [Sotto voce] But between you and me I want to see good form on the way down.
These people (even in their theoretical forms) totally crack me up. It helps that I crack myself up, too.
But back to my original analogy about being lit on fire and jumping off a bridge: yes, I made it, but I didn’t swim to safety on my own. I was rescued.