Do you ever sit down and take a little look-see around your life and think, WHERE THE HELL DID MY MOJO GO?
Yes, that happened to me recently.
For starters, I was, at the time of my existential deliberations, in a kiddie pool at the town rec center pool walking.
Let me set the stage for you. Now I am not very tall, but quite tall enough, thank you very much, to feel painfully visible to the teenage boy lifeguarding, the super-fit serious-swimmers, and the one actual kid (who was, unlike me, in the big girls pool).
So here I am, pool walking for some post-surgical rehab. I already have, as I mentioned in a previous post, the grace of a rhinoceros. Put that rhinoceros in the kiddie pool and require her to put on a swim cap as if she’s about to compete with Michael Phelps, and what you get is a painfully self-conscious rhinoceros.
As I am bouncing away, I notice the lifeguard is looking but trying not to look at me. Oh I see, yes, perhaps it is because I am bouncing not rhythmically up and down, in a regular cadence, but bouncing this way and that, in a helter skelter sort of fashion, zigzagging across the pool without discernible pattern, and catching myself on the side wall every few seconds when I lose my balance. Right. I get it. I look like a crazy person!
It was from this spot that I began to think, WHAT HAVE I COME TO?
Back when I was 7 or 8, I used to have MOJO, you see. I was so confident of my latent charm that I regularly “entertained” my parents’ party guests – even without their specifically requesting I do so! How Very Thoughtful Was I?
In any case, at these parties, I’d cue up the old record player with my favorite album of all time (back then): the soundtrack to Annie: the Movie. The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow was ready to roll. I had my little brother trained to start playing it when I gave him the signal. I ran down to “center stage,” a coffee table in front of the guests, and I got up on top of it, OF COURSE. From this mark, I put the microphone to my mouth and gave my brother the nod and boom! IT’S ON. I took care to really BELT OUT the words so that they could hear me and not just Annie singing. It’s only fair, you know. These people didn’t come here to listen to a record!!
I sang my little heart out. I even had a “routine” if you can call it that. I flung one arm out here at this part of the song, and then the other got flung out at that part of the song. I knew my stuff. I had watched Hee-Haw. I had seen live shows. This is how I knew, performers have to Take a Bow when they are done. So I did, and yep, there was in my memory some pattering of hands together before the parents’ party guests resumed their conversations.
What happened to this little Annie girl? She was a rising star sure that The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow. Sure, too, that the clapping of those guests of her parents meant that they really did enjoy her singing and dancing.
It was only later – I shudder to think how long it in fact took – that I realized I can neither carry a tune, nor move my body in space in any kind of way that could be called dancing. Entertaining, maybe. But not dancing, and definitely not pleasing.
So I put my little orphan Annie self in the trunk of childhood by about age 9 or 10. No more singing. No more dancing. Not even (especially not) Karaoke. What happened? Oh, just the sudden birth of SHAME.
Maybe it was my arrhythmic bobbing in the kiddie pool that brought this memory to the fore. What happened to that little kid that didn’t CARE what she looked or sounded like? She just put her WHOLE HEART into it, whatever it sounded or looked like.
I wonder – if my Annie self had somehow not been decimated by the savage trauma of just being a person, would I still have my life mojo? Would my life have turned out differently?
Or is this like asking, if a tree falls in the forest….
But why is it that some people are able to hold onto their little Annie selves, keep them safe from the brutal storms of life, and bring them out, relatively unscathed, when it is safe to be vulnerable?
I will ponder this question later. For now, I will focus my attention on being a bit less of a rhinoceros in the kiddie pool – or, better yet, recognize that if I must be a rhinoceros, maybe I can become less self-conscious of my rhinocery.
In fact, maybe one day in the not too distant future, I will grab the mike, get up on the proverbial coffee table, and downright celebrate my rhinocery!! With a little tune I know called…. (IN UNISON, PEOPLE!): The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.