ROCKS AND ROLLIN’
It was the summer between 7th and 8th grade, and my roller skates (not blades, mind you, skates) were my car. In those days, my friends and I skated EVERYWHERE, especially to the mall, the park and yes, stealthily past my crush’s house. I have no idea why I thought it was a good idea to skate “by” a guy’s house, but when you’re 12-1/2, lots of things seem like good ideas. Anyway, on this particular summer’s day, my friend and I decided to skate to the park for an ice cream. I was FLYING…wind blowing through my hair; trees, grass, kids and playground whizzing by, when – THUD! I was on the ground.
How did that happen? Oh no! Did anybody see me? Yes, of course they did; the entire world was looking at me…you know, the girl who thought she could skate…the show-off with the wind-blown hair. Yeah, that one. Ha ha, she was on the ground. Apparently, she can’t skate…
That’s what they were all thinking. I was convinced of it.
Yikes! What do I do?
GET UP AND IMMEDIATELY BEGIN LOOKING FOR THE MASSIVE BOULDER THAT TRIPPED ME. That’s right, search for the cause of my fall. Search for something to blame. Search for whatever huge thing struck me down in my finest hour.
Okay, that’s weird…I couldn’t find any boulders. Hmmm…Maybe it was a stone – something about the size of a small car…Nope. No boulder, no stone. How about…a log? A Stick? Don’t tell me it was a pebble?
(Time to up the ante and intensify my search efforts.)
Still nothing. Sigh. Despite my most emphatic gestures and impressive scene-making, I found NOTHING (not even a pebble). There was absolutely nothing there that could trip me.
Well, not one to let a perfectly good crisis go to waste, I triumphantly raised my closed hand and exclaimed, “Ah-ha! Here it is! Stupid rock! I can’t believe I didn’t see that!” And then, I threw it far, far away…toward the grassy knoll where no one would ever find it.
The funny thing is, I hadn’t thrown anything, because I hadn’t found anything. BUT, I couldn’t let everyone else know that, so I pretended that there was something to blame.
I suppose it doesn’t matter that everyone had gone back to their business and forgotten about me by the time I mimed the stone’s throw, but I was still paying attention, and so was my friend (who was pretending not to laugh), and I NEEDED TO FIND SOMETHING TO BLAME.
In retrospect, the way I dealt with that stumble was a boilerplate for my life. I hated being wrong and I didn’t want anyone to think I was stupid. Yes, I realize it was an accident, but in my mind, it was a dumb accident that I should have avoided. Clearly, if I thought it was dumb, then everyone else must have thought so too. Rather than accepting the fact that I was just another girl who had fallen in the park while skating, I learned to deflect, deny, rationalize, explain, make excuses and dramatize…those were my “go-to” behaviors, and they weren’t healthy.
I believed I needed to find something to blame so I could justify circumstances in my life. And, I did that a lot with my obesity. I was always looking for the boulder…or the stone…or the log that kept me from losing weight, keeping weight off…being skinny.
The cause of my obesity HAD to be something outside of myself, I reasoned. It had to be humongous and impossible to avoid, I concluded.
True, there were some boulders and stones and logs, but once I skated past those (genetics, environment, etc.), the rest of the path was up to me.
These days (thanks to things like therapy and a lot of personal work), when I fall, I get up, dust myself off and don’t make a big deal out of it. Either that, or I laugh it off (which I prefer!)
At the end of the day, people may think I’m a dufus, but that’s okay because I AM A DUFUS. Here’s where I’ll end my little skating tale: I’ve learned not to take life so seriously, and when you fall, don’t look for something to blame–look for a way to get back up again, and carry on.
How about you? Do you tend to look for boulders, rocks and logs to blame for the things that trip you up in life? OR, do you accept reality as it is, get up when you fall, and maybe even laugh sometimes?
You already know what I do. Now, where did I pack those skates…?