Day 8

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    Leanne Matton

    The Fall

    Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.
    G. K. Chesterton

    I entered adulthood believing I was hopeless at most things because I had tried to do them and ‘failed’, aka not done them well the first time I tried them. Both my parents were perfectionists and so if I ever tried to learn something, it was snatched off me and done for me if I didn’t do it well immediately.

    This gave me an image of myself as a slow learner and not very good at most things. But I discovered over time that if I was able to persevere, I improved. This may seem obvious but it was a revelation to me. It changed the way I saw myself.

    When I trained as an art therapist, I hesitated to make a mess. This had also been frowned on in my family’s spotless house. But once I started to get my hands in the paint, I made more mess than anyone else.

    One day we did psychodrama, where we acted out our shadow – the part of ourselves we don’t like others to see. Mine was the slow, the introvert, the quiet, the not very good at things.

    As I slouched around and shrugged my shoulders in front of the group, it felt almost gleeful to let this side out, and then they applauded and it was heavenly. I no longer hide these parts of myself. It was exhausting to try and there was so much shame. No more.

    Today write about how you would behave if you could be as slow, inadequate, loud, passive, quiet and ineffectual as you may have been told or fear you are. Embody this as much as possible. Have fun with it!


    I would put snow skis on and immediately fall over. I would sit there sniffling until everyone came over to help me up, fussing over me and supporting me to work my way down the baby slope at snail’s pace.

    After 10 repetitions of this, I would allow myself to be supported by just one person as I still struggled to get the snowplow right. Then I would pack it in for the day and go and relax in front of the fire.

    It would take me all week to get to the point of going up the beginner slope on the chairlift and snowplowing all the way down (no parallel skiing for me) supported by 2 or 3 people skiing patiently beside me. I would fall over each time I got off the chairlift, and people would help me up and make sure I was ok.

    The following week I would put on rollerblades and fall over. People would help me up and guide me around the rink, my feet would keep going from under me and I would laugh and joke about how uncoordinated I was.

    Everybody would encourage me but I wouldn’t let go of the rail or other people. I would still fall over even then and have to be helped up because I couldn’t get up by myself.

    The week after that I would put on scuba gear and get in the pool up to my waist. I would kneel down and complain that I couldn’t remember what anything was for. People would show me again and again.

    When they asked us to fill our mask up with water I would announce I wasn’t going to do that part. Nobody would mind. I would do some of the other stuff but I would go last and everyone would help me.

    I would only do half the session and then get out, saying I was too tired and would come back another day and finish. I would get help to take all the equipment off and get out of my wetsuit.

    The next week I would get in the river with water skis on. I would make them go around and around in circles while I skiied in a crouching position because my arms didn’t feel strong enough to support me standing up. Everyone would be patient and wait till I was ready.

    I would slowly start to stand up but would fall over or let go the rope at least 10 times. Everyone would encourage me. Eventually I would say my arms are tired and get out of the water. People would say what a great effort I made.

    The next weekend I would get on my friend’s motorbike. I would ride it very slowly around a parking lot in big circles. I wouldn’t get out of 2nd gear and would ignore any suggestion to go faster or go in the opposite direction.

    I wouldn’t fall off but that’s only because I wouldn’t do anything that would cause me to topple. I would need to be told 16 times how to operate the clutch and move the gear stick. Everyone would wait patiently until I got the hang of it. Then I would get off and say I was done.

    I would feel no embarrassment at any time and eventually I would master all these skills, at my own pace while asking for (and getting) all the help I needed.

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Leanne Matton.

    Ah, I would just sit. I am a rock. I am a mountain. I am quiet, quiet, quiet. Until I bellow. Suddenly, surprisingly, with no rhyme or reason. And return to silence.

    Leanne Matton

    Until I bellow – ahhhh I feel that!

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