Channeling Judy

I was 53 and sitting under a heat lamp with a head full of foils when I discovered my role model.  And it turns out my role model isn’t someone famous or someone in my family.  My role model is Judy — whose last name I can’t even remember — a woman who regularly attended my aerobics classes in the early 80s.  [Side note:  Yep, I taught aerobics for a living back in the day while wearing the requisite white Reeboks, super shiny tights, leg warmers, and neon leotards.]

Why I figured this out while getting my hair done is because I’d been trying to convince my stylist that frosted hair could make a comeback.  I’ve always liked frosted hair, vintage style like women had in the 1970s and 1980s.   During the conversation I realized I liked frosted hair so much because Judy had had frosted hair.  And when I was 19 I really wanted to be like Judy when I grew up.

I don’t think I ever considered what her age was back then, but I’d guess she was in her early 40s.  Judy came to my classes wearing mascara and bright lipstick with her short frosted hair wildly unstyled — which in itself was kind of edgy in the early 80s.  And her personality was just as bold and engaging and engaging as her style. In my eyes, she was confident, kind, friendly, sophisticated, smart, fun, and gorgeous.  Even though I had no idea what she did for a living or what her education level was or how much money she had (I can’t even remember her last name) I knew I wanted to be like her.  She never wimped out in class, she was hilarious, gregarious, and brought joy everywhere she went.  I wanted to show up every day as she did; boldly, confidently, and joyfully herself.

It might have taken me 40+ years worth to remember that inspiration, but I’m using it now and making up for lost time!




At the beginning of the year I did something completely out of character.  Basically, I up and quit my job.  Without another one waiting in the wings.  And I felt really good about closing the door on a situation that just wasn’t working … until 2 a.m. … when I woke up and freaked out.  I had just jumped off a cliff into a vast and really scary unknown.  To say it was a rough night is an understatement.  Exhausted the next morning, I had an epiphany while brushing my teeth:  What if I wasn’t falling into a big, black hole of nothingness; what if I’d jumped off that cliff and I was FLYING?!  Wow.  Mind. Blown.  I carried that question around with me for days, then weeks and it was a little bit magical in that it seemed to keep the second-guessing and “sky is falling” feelings at bay.

Since then, life has moved on; I have a great new gig and I kind of lost sight of my whole “falling or flying” concept.  That is until I found myself in a full-blown existential funk — I’m stopping short of crisis.  I’m back to waking up in the middle of the night and getting wrapped around the axle about whether I’m doing what I should really be doing with my life, is it enough, what’s going to happen when I get old … that never ending spiral of fear and negativity that jolts many of us into wakefulness at the most inconvenient hours. I haven’t been a whole lot of fun for myself or anyone else.

Then, when I entered into a writing accountability partnership with a friend and was casting about to come up with what the actual eff I would even write about, I remembered my epiphany and thought about how it might apply to my current situation.  Is it perhaps that that I’m not actually in an existential funk, but really that I’m perceiving things in a way that make me feel I am?  I mean, it’s said that perception is reality.  Is it possible that by changing my perception I can change my reality from an existential funk to a big, sparkly life?  I don’t know, but 1) I got a blog post out of the idea, and 2) it’s for damn sure worth a try.

So … I’m going to start with the model I developed in graduate school, using practices of mindfulness, motion, and curiosity to serve as my foundation.  Practices, I should admit, I’ve let lapse somewhat of late … perhaps I’ve identified a contributory cause to these doldrums?  I’m also going to re-visit my readings related to perception’s impact on reality and also seek some new sources.  Since finishing graduate school, I’ve spent a lot of time catching up on my murder mystery reading and much less time focused on the reading that intrigued me so much that I actually finished my degree.  I’ll not only read, but I’ll share what I’ve read, I’ll share what I’ve done, and I’ll share whether/how it’s impacted the funk.  If nothing else, I’ll be writing AND finding ways to get my emotions back on track.  Nice.

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