When I was in the first grade, I pulled my pants down and mooned my fellow students, mid-gym class. I was sent to the office immediately. When the principal asked why I did it, I didn’t have much of an answer. I just felt like it, I said. I shrugged.
My lacking athletic abilities were no asset to Red Rover, so I got creative with what I could bring to the game: my pale, bare ass(et). Exposing a naked part of myself to a room of unsuspecting 7-year-olds was liberating and thrilling. I long for that level of courage now.
It’s interesting how a person’s death can draw your attention to their legacy when you need to be reminded of it. Leonard Cohen’s death in the wake of the election gave many the comfort of the sad songs they needed, and it gave Kate Mckinnon some of the most poetic and serious material of her comedic career.
I’ve been thinking about Carrie Fisher a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about how she redefined the concept of a princess, but more so a woman in the public eye. She showed herself. She exposed what was hiding in her experiences and invited us to laugh with her. She wore addiction and mental illness on her sleeve as frayed badges of honour. She was funny in that way that simultaneously kicks you in the shins, leaving you bruised by the shadows of human experience. Leaving you feeling less alone.
When I look back at how I tried to “be” in the past year, a lot of it was about showing myself. Whether it was through navigating the balance of self-expression and narcissism on social media, adding my two cents on two advisory boards, positioning my personal truth on this blog or putting myself out there as a life-coach-in-training – and then constantly sobbing about it all to my own life coach – I exposed a lot of myself this year. Some of the exposing went well, some of it I’m still working on. Looking back now though, all of it made me feel like I was well on my way.
I also took photos of myself more. Sometimes I asked strangers on the street to take my photo! I found my “selfie,” if you will – for a while there we were at war. Maybe I needed a little validation in the “likes” of others – lord knows it doesn’t hurt! But maybe I also needed to see myself more in order feel connected to myself.
There are certain things I haven’t exposed yet. In 2017 I’m thinking of expanding the blog into a full-fledged website (!!!!!) with a few other elements that align with this whole theme of “still figuring it out…” (and what a concrete theme that is, eh!?). I want to continue to expose but I also want others there exposing with me. There are topics I haven’t felt comfortable sharing here because there is still so much shame, but I’m curious about how thrilling it would feel to pull my pants down in the corner of the gymnasium again.