Roller Coaster Lifestyles...
I have always loved roller coasters. The thrill of being dangerously safe. Not really knowing what will happen while at the same time having faith that it will all work out. Yesterday we rode them all day, one after the other. Turning our lives over to the forces that be...and allowing ourselves to be transported to places that can only be reached from an edge...
As we walked around the park, we saw people from all walks of life. People who all came to the same place for the same reason, to release themselves to forces greater than themselves.
As we walked, we talked. We discussed how different life was. At how much life had changed since our childhoods, a gay couple walked by us holding hands which wouldn’t have happened twenty years ago...not even in California.
Driving to and from the park gave us time to discuss some of the changes we have seen. My daughter and her friend representing one generation, my friend another and me still another. My daughter growing up in a world where being trans, gay or bisexual is acceptable. Her generation seeming to not have such hard judgments about people being who they are. They seem so much more accepting than the generations before. There seems to be this consensus among her generation that people’s real job in life is to be who they are...even if who they are doesn’t fit convention or the mainstream.
I like this world better. I know how hard I have struggled to be who I am. I mean really. Not who I think you want me to be, or a cooler, less dorky version. Just to show up in the skin I am in and try to find some acceptance for that. Not spend my life just wishing that I was younger, hotter, smarter, whatever’er.
What I noticed yesterday within my group and also at the societal level is that we all want the same things: to be seen and appreciated for who we are, to be loved and loving, to have someone who cares about us and to care back about others, to have fun and enjoy life, to be accepted, even adored, by those about us and then get the opportunity to give that same acceptance and adoration back. And we all want to have fun. Sometimes jarring fun that takes us outside our comfort zones. To push the envelope a little so that life lands a little different. A perspective shift that allows for us to grow, to change, to be a different version of ourselves.
I wish that I could say that I walked the park yesterday free and untethered by my own self consciousness. I didn’t. I felt at times carefree and happy but there were moments where I felt incredibly inadequate. But what I looked for, and I saw, at least I think I saw, was the same thing in others. All the humans walking around Six Flags together. I felt related in that I could feel that perhaps maybe they too were gripped with doubt and fear and concern for having the audacity to show up as they are. No covers, no barriers, just show up as themselves and try to have that be enjoyable.
What I learned was that once upon a time, this would have been so much harder for me. I would have spent a lot of time doing the comparison game and spending a great deal of time worrying about what total strangers thought of me. But I have grown past that for the most part. I didn’t spend the entirety of the day worried about all the things about me that are in need of work, I was, for the most part, able to be present, to give and receive love and joy and I had a great day. So the time spent in self indulgent fear was minimal compared to how I used to show up for life.
This new world that we are living in is still wacky and weird. But what I saw yesterday with the people milling about Six Flags is that there is a much wider acceptance for people being who they are. It felt like some of the fear was gone. That people could dress as they wished, date whom they chose, be who they are without an ongoing apology at the ready or a wholesale lie about their being.
These are only my perceptions and I could be totally wrong. But that is what I saw. And I liked it. I enjoyed seeing people having the courage to show up and do their best to be true to themselves. And it encouraged me to do the same. And I enjoyed the day with my friend, my daughter and her friend. It was such a gift to laugh and talk and be present while having fun, mixing up my daily life and getting on fast moving machines that reminded me of that feeling of youthful freedom. Because when you are on a rollercoaster, you are not in control and you are true to yourself. You can’t fake it. If you are terrified, it shows. If you are vibing, it shows. If you feel sick, it shows. You have to be who you are while being hurtled through time and space. Because you are so present, you can really be nothing else. I love that.