Because it can be hard to break through our own protective wall.
We may have to start feeling that fear that made us want to be invisible in the first place.
We might realize that we have compromised ourselves.
We can feel overwhelmed. The outside world is too much. We can panic.
We can get stuck. We can feel like we are in a traffic jam.
Doors locked. Horns honking. But we want to move.
And then we want to scream “Let me out of here!”
Is it possible to be safe and feel protected while moving forward and getting somewhere?
When I ask myself this question now I think of the walking cardboard taxis.
I never really listened to her or was a big fan. Whenever I saw a picture of her, the only thing I could think of was,
That’s the girl from “You Can’t Do That on Television”.
Back then cable tv was brand new and my grandparent’s summer home had cable before we ever did. The Nickelodeon Channel was super cool to me, and it was fun watching buckets of slime fall on people’s heads.. That left a big impression on me...
Until I heard her again the other day while I was painting my son’s bedroom. It could have been because I was in a calm and semi-meditative state. Painting will do that to you. Or it could be that Alanis Morisette’s familiar, distinct and screachy voice broke me out of it.
This line jumped out at me:
I am high but I’m grounded.
and then a whole bunch of other seemingly contradictory terms:
I’m sane but but I’m overwhelmed
I’m lost but I’m hopeful
I’m free but I’m focused
I’m green but I’m wise
I’m sad but I’m laughing
oh, and this one’s the best:
I’m brave but I’m chickenshit.
Fast forward to the next day when I felt overwhelmed and needed to draw out my energy to ground and get unstuck. After drawing in my sketchbook and realizing that I needed support around the feelings of wanting to be seen and hidden at the same time Alanis’ song popped into my head again. So I went and looked at the video for Hand in My Pocket.
It brought me to a parade in New York City where I saw something familiar: puppets and people dressed in cardboard. Cardboard taxi cabs. With feet. When I lived in Philadelphia my husband and I were involved with social activism such as this with Spiral Q; people using creativity to express their thoughts, their wishes, their dreams. Making a statement. (Actually, we taught a class of children who decided they wanted to parade as cardboard french fries and donuts but that is another story.)
As Alanis stood in downpouring rain in the middle of all of the hullabaloo of the parade, I got it.
And what it all comes down to my friends
Is that everything is just fine fine fine
‘cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is hailing a taxi cab
Once we recognize that we do not have to stay in the stuck traffic jam place, that we can actually do something while being supported, our power comes back and our voices can be heard. We can be high(happy) and grounded.
Just as we can create the steel walls of protection that lock us in, we can also create our own safe boundaries that allow us to stick our necks out, come in and out of our shell, enjoy and be fully present in the outside world. Because parades are fun!
Imagine you are the feet and you can create the cardboard taxi vehicle you are driving. You can paint it whatever color you like, cut it out into whatever shape you like. Put sparkles and glitter on the inside or warm fuzzy fur. It is your own pocket space. It makes you smile and feel loved. Now when it is time to go somewhere moving your feet is easier. Your body says, okay. Go.
And all of the wonders of New York is just a cab ride away.
Of course you will get stuck in some traffic here in there. Our minds can get away from us or things just happen in our day to day life that slow us down or make us have to rethink our direction and detour a bit.
That is when you pull out your sketchbook and draw...
or sing while driving, like Alanis.