I am sure it seems strange to include misery in JOY, but that's kind of what we are tasked with as humans. A constant opportunity to feel all the things. To experience more than one singular truth, to entertain the extremes while acknowledging the significance of the middle. A desire to proceed and progress while allowing feeling stuck to be part of the process. It's a lot being human. A lot.
I wasn't planning on starting a new project, but then one happened upon me and the more I played in the possibilities of all that it allowed, it was clear that it had a life of its own. And these moments of uncontrollable commencement are my favorite parts of the creative process. Things build up to a wave. The wave likes to hit the shore. It is happening before we can even acknowledge it.
THIS IS MISERABLE: SKATEBOARDING EDITION
On July 31, 2021 I decided to become a skateboarder. I suppose I always wanted to be one, but my younger years when one might find themselves with ripe opportunities to begin such an endeavor, were filled with insecurities that left me frozen. To be honest, I'm still filled with the same insecurities and surprisingly they are what have made this task so damn miserable. Falling on concrete hurts, but staring your big bag of emotional bullshit in the face every morning, that hurts even more.
I never would have entertained such an endeavor, (I am an out of shape 45 year old mom who constantly argues with her body - I've got some real demons there) unless my daughter, who has been skateboarding for two years, asked me why I didn't.
Before I ever stepped on a skateboard, I LOVED skateboarding. It has fueled a large part of my creative inspiration as a writer and an artist. There is something about the fluidity of the human body pushing right up against unyielding concrete that has always seemed poetic to me. I am constantly awestruck by the dance. But I guess deep down, alongside those body demons, I thought I didn't belong in that dance. And now, while I still harbor those demons, I'm too damn old and too much of a feminist to buy that there is anywhere a woman doesn't belong. I was not going to be the mom to quietly demonstrate the opposite to my daughter by never stepping on a board.
Skateboarding is one of many things that has awakened my demons that I have stared down because of my daughter. Have all the feelings, do it anyway. That's been the mission of motherhood for me.
I've learned many lessons over the past month. About learning something new, trying something that I am not good at, and just what a lovely practice that is. To enter into something that speaks to part of us, but not the other. Something that scares us, seduces the parts of ourselves we try to keep asleep, and places right in front of us all the terrible magic of being alive. It's miserable. And miserable is also great. And hard. And scary. And lovely. And completely sexy and wonderful.
Skateboarding reminds me a lot of the therapeutic process. The humility, the willingness to wrestle, and the hope that showing up will make a difference. I know in therapy it does. I'm trying to figure out if showing up makes a difference on a skateboard as well. Data points to yes.
This project is going to look a lot different than my other endeavors. It's messy, because to be honest, this process of learning has been really messy. And vulnerable. A well versed written essay or series of essays seemed too tidy for this brand of misery. And there is something about the quick and terrifying adjustments one needs to make when on a skateboard that makes a better match to video. So, video it is. And live video it will be. And you are invited.
Join me live every THURSDAY AT 12 PM PST on INSTAGRAM @lisaandersonshaffer for a miserably lovely conversation. I'll share updates on my progress or lack there of, what I've learned or unlearned, take questions about this experiment, and hold space for those of you who are trying something new along with me. Join in on Thursdays and post your own progress anytime on IG with the #thisismiserable.
You can watch the first installment of THIS IS MISERABLE: SKATEBOARDING EDITION by hitting the button below.
I'll see you Thursday.
PS my skate crew name is Tsumommy.