There is an episode of Friends (The One Where Phoebe Runs) in which Rachel and Phoebe go jogging together. Rachel runs like everyone else in the park while Phoebe runs in an awkward manner with clumsy, heavy feet and wild, swinging arms. She tells Rachel it is more fun to run this way but Rachel avoids jogging with her because she is embarrassed. By the end of the show, Phoebe convinces Rachel to try her method of running and when she does, Rachel feels so free and happy that she no longer cares if people stare.
When we become adults, we also become accustomed to being judged and critiqued by others. Too often, the worry of what someone else might think overshadows the desire to do what makes us feel good. What if the other person loses respect for me? What if I don’t live up to their image? What if they no longer want me as a friend? What if they reject me or gossip to another? These fears are often unfulfilled, particularly when it comes to our true friends. But then, there is the added panic that a complete stranger will not accept us as cool or subject us to public ridicule.
Yet if you look back into your childhood, there were things you did freely without concern or consideration of someone else’s opinion. You did it without thought or care because it was what you wanted to do in that moment. It not only passed the time, it made you feel content. For me, that activity was drawing. I would sit for hours, doodling and sketching. I would freehand images from the catalogs and magazines we got in the mail. I loved to draw even if I was not always good at it. My clothing designs were impressive, but I could never get the facial features of my models just right. The other day, I glanced through my son’s notebook – the one he has on hand for whatever randomness – and I saw something that warmed my heart. He had sketch upon sketch of sports uniforms. Front view, side view, back view, accessories. Hand drawn in pencil, imagined in his mind, some colored in, and all imperfectly perfect.
In a world of family and work and home and technology and social obligations, it can become easy to get lost in the realm of responsibility. My son’s images reminded me to not only stop, but rewind to a time and place where I found joy in whatever came.
That evening, I doodled. I drew. I sketched. I smiled. I went back.
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~Inspired ME, Joyful BE