Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reflection: Sometimes You Picture Me (2)

This picture is made from a snapshot someone took back in my co-op days. I uploaded into a frame and used it in a personal post, some months back, about body language and illusion. It was one of the few posts that I've written that I hesitated to publish. One of the ways that people have misinterpreted body language is that they've thought they saw fear in contexts where it didn't exist. Of course there are also more harmless illusions created by body language...

In co-op days, a housemate (I generally don't name names, but it start with 'J' and rhymes with 'mud') said, "You must have been so good at gymnastics when you were growing up."

I laughed. "In all my years of PE, I couldn't touch my toes -- couldn't even come close."

"How could that be?" he said, in his Mud-like manner (bemused, but not disbelieving).

It took me the better part of a decade to come up with a partial, non-scientific explanation about something that's mostly a 'nothing issue'. The interesting thing isn't the explanation; it's that it took me so long to come up with any reason at all that sounded plausible -- as it has been with some far deeper life issues. I tend to know in advance when my words are going to sound flat and unbelievable and I've made the choice in those situations to simply... not try. There are reasons, other than fear of not being accepted, to be mum about who you are.

Put yourself for a moment in my... leotards. Imagine: When people watch you, day after day, carelessly turn yourself into a human pretzel, it's gonna sound hollow and clunky when you say that in PE, you were gasping and wincing trying to bring your fingertips much more than halfway down your calves. (How can that be? I mean, really, how can it?)

Now you're not losing opportunities in life because you create a false illusion of flexibility, but other false do illusions carry with them losses. Yet it can take years to explain away those illusions in ways that don't sound hollow and clunky when they hit the floor. Because you yourself don't know how something can be, only that it must 'can be' because it is.

As for the toe touching thing, this is my partial explanation. It was always was difficult for me -- more so than the average person -- to bend at the waist when my legs were straight. It was always easy for me -- more so than the average person -- to bend at the waist when my legs too were deeply bent. Just put together a bit funny, I guess.